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Guy: GIA Deed signing ceremony with Kiwifruit Vine Health

Nathan Guy

20 MAY, 2014

Speech to the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) Deed signing ceremony with Kiwifruit Vine Health

Today is a very important day, and a long time in the making. This is the start of a new era of biosecurity partnership between the Government and industry.

We’re here for first signing of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response Deed, between Kiwifruit Vine Health and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Everyone here has probably heard me say many times that “biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister.” Today I want to say a few words to remind why that is, and why this agreement today is so important.

The primary sector is the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy, accounting for over 70 percent of our export earnings.

It helps pay the bills for our schools, hospitals and social services, and supports many jobs in our regions and cities.

As you know we have the ambitious goal of doubling primary sector exports by 2025. Clearly, we’re not going to achieve that if we don’t protect our producers, our resources and our international reputation for food safety, animal welfare, and sustainability.

A single biosecurity incursion could do crippling damage, and undo years of hard work. I acknowledge the setback the kiwifruit industry had with Psa and the effect it had on grower returns. Fortunately the industry has bounced back and returns are looking more positive.

Biosecurity affects all New Zealanders, and we have a shared responsibility to manage risks that could damage our nation. We all have skin in the game.

At the same time, the biosecurity risk we face is growing. Changing global demands, growing passenger and trade volumes, increasing imports from new countries, population expansion and climate change are contributing to this.

This is why GIAs are so important. We know from experience that managing our strong biosecurity system requires the collective efforts of both government and our industry partners.

The partnership approach is setting the scene for better overall biosecurity outcomes. By working together we can identify challenges and develop strategies to improve our preparedness. We can bring both bring resources and expertise to the table.

As you know, earlier this year two Queensland fruit flies were detected in Whangarei. The fact they were found, and were isolated cases, shows our biosecurity system working as it should.

However, it also highlighted the importance of having government and industry working together to prepare for, and respond to incursions. A representative from each of KVH and Horticulture New Zealand took part as observers during this response.

In future, the GIA partnership approach means we can work together on joint decisions and to determine the right level of biosecurity investment. It will mean faster and more effective responses.

I want to congratulate KVH for leading the way in signing the GIA Deed, and for laying the foundation for a new era of biosecurity partnership between the government and our industry partners.

I would encourage you all to keep open minds to the opportunities to combine our strengths, and protect our environment and economy from biosecurity risks.

Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to make this signing today possible.

ENDS


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