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Snake Find In Christchurch - The Last Straw

The Forest and Bird Protection Society has called on the Government to undertake an urgent inquiry into the failings of New Zealand's quarantine regime following the discovery today of a live snake in a container while it was being unpacked in a Christchurch warehouse.

The snake is thought to have entered the country in a container from Indonesia. It follows the finding of a live snake in Petone just last week.

Forest and Bird's Conservation Director, Kevin Smith, said New Zealand could be on the brink of a massive ecological disaster if snakes become established in this country. New Zealand's native birdlife would be defenceless against snakes, leading to a new wave of extinctions.

"While an Indonesian snake may struggle to survive a South Island winter, this find demonstrates how sloppy the quarantine regimes are for containers."

"If animals as large as snakes can cross our borders undetected, then what hope have we of keeping insect pests at bay."

Forest and Bird said the Minister of Biosecurity, Marian Hobbs, desperately needed to show some leadership in her new role.

"Labour went to the election with an excellent biosecurity policy but it is not being implemented. Japan is still sending us pest-infested cars, with live tussock moth eggs found on an imported used car in Dunedin last week. Contaminated containers are unloaded in our ports every week."

"With two snakes and a tussock moth in just a week, what will we find next week? And, worse, how many snakes and insect pests have slipped away unnoticed and are now breeding up in a forested gully somewhere," said Mr Smith.

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