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Biosecurity must be primary focus of agreements

Damien O’Connor
Primary Industries Spokesperson

21 May 2014

Biosecurity must be primary focus of agreements

Biosecurity efforts must be primarily focused on preventing unwanted organisms getting into New Zealand, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The signing of the first Government Industry Agreement (GIA) by the kiwifruit industry may be a good step forward but without the increased and persistent focus on border security, the costs of managing and eradicating unwanted pests will be too great for both government and industry.

“While there have been increases in trade volumes, this has not been matched by any real increase in border security funding.

“The kiwifruit industry is a very large and well co-ordinated sector. It has negotiated a reasonable agreement with the Ministry of Primary Industries but there are still questions over the industry’s ability to direct pre-border and frontline border protection to reduce the risks.

“Many of the smaller sector organisations only have a limited ability to negotiate a sound agreement with the Ministry and even less ability to influence prevention at the border from pests and diseases that might affect their industry.

“While Labour welcomes the establishment of GIAs, we still have concerns that small sectors will be severely disadvantaged and potentially face crippling costs from biosecurity incursions that are no fault of their own.

“Labour will review the process of GIAs to ensure there remains a proper focus on border control and that those creating risks should be responsible for the costs associated with their mitigation,” Damien O’Connor says.

ENDS

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