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Pull the other one, Mr Guy

Damien O’Connor
Spokesperson for Primary Industries
Biosecurity Spokesperson

26 June 2013

Pull the other one, Mr Guy

‘Unbelievable’ is the only way to describe the Government’s handling of the palm kernel expeller (PKE) biosecurity situation, Labour’s Biosecurity and Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The discovery of an animal limb in a shipment of PKE delivered to a Bay of Plenty farmer has rightly rung alarm bells across our primary sector economy.

“It resulted in a six-week long process to identify what the Ministry of Primary Industries initially claimed was a bone from a small exotic animal, but which it now ‘confirms’ as having come from a New Zealand sheep.

“This unbelievably long and protracted process raises as many questions as it provides interim answers.

“The system is clearly failing if it takes that long to identify a domestic sheep limb.

“Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, and Ministry bosses have offered numerous assurances in the past - on a range of issues - that later proved to be inaccurate, hence I have little confidence in today’s announcement.

“If it takes MPI six weeks to identify a NZ sheep, no wonder it is blind to the risk of contamination in PKE imports.

“Two farmers provided the information and evidence exposing the threat, yet Mr Guy and his officials continue to deny the reality of this potential pathway for foot and mouth disease to enter New Zealand.

“I simply can’t believe it has taken the Minister this long to identify where, or what, the limb came from. I also don’t believe that he is operating a safe biosecurity system.”

ENDS

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