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New graduates strengthen biosecurity frontline

Hon Nathan Guy

Minister for Primary Industries

13 June 2014 Media Statement

New graduates strengthen biosecurity frontline

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says 29 new biosecurity graduates will further strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system, and help safeguardour primary industries from pests and diseases.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today welcomed 24 new quarantine inspectors and five new dog handlers at a ceremony in Auckland.

The new quarantine inspectors will be based at Auckland (15), Wellington (3) and Christchurch (6). Five new biosecurity detector dog teams will be split between Auckland (4) and Christchurch (1).

“These new staff will help ensure MPI’s biosecurity frontline stays at full strength,” says Mr Guy.

“I’ve been clear since becoming Minister that biosecurity is my number one priority, and people on the ground are our most important asset,” says Mr Guy.

Quarantine inspectors patrol the main entry points into New Zealand, including ports, airports, and Auckland’s International Mail Centre, to ensure biosecurity risk items are intercepted before they can enter the country.

Detector dog teams are specially trained to search baggage, mail and cargo to locate undeclared or forgotten items that could carry unwanted pests or diseases.

“This graduation means that MPI have now successfully recruited and trained nearly 125 new quarantine inspectors in the last 18 months,” says Mr Guy.

“The new dog handlers puts MPI on target to reach 40 dog detector teams this year, ensuring greater coverage of airports and boats,” says Mr Guy.

MPI is also training additional dogs to operate in post-border operations.

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