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Latest fruit fly discovery raises serious questions

3 April 2014

Latest fruit fly discovery raises serious questions

The discovery of yet another fruit fly in Whangarei raises serious questions about our biosecurity preparedness, the Green Party said today.

Three Queensland fruit flies have been discovered in New Zealand since May 2012.

“New Zealand can’t leave our biosecurity to chance. We need to invest in our frontline systems to protect our primary food producing industries,” said Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The Queensland fruit fly is the ‘foot and mouth disease’ of the horticulture industry. An infestation could devastate the sector.

“MPI needs to explain why it thinks this is a new incursion. Given that the last fruit fly was found in the same region only a few months ago it seems likely there is a connection.

“If it is the case that this fruit fly is linked to the previous incursion, then it raises serious concerns about MPI ending their January campaign early, before ensuring there were no other fruit fly in the region.

“The Auditor General said in February 2013 that she thought MPI was under-prepared for potential incursions and that ‘responding to incursions has taken precedence over preparing for the potential arrival of other pests and diseases’.

“This latest fruit fly discovery raises serious questions about the Government’s focus on responding to rather than preparing for and preventing incursions.

“A smart green economy relies on strong biosecurity controls and responses,” Mr Browning said.

ENDS

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