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Interim Biosecurity Package Earns Congratulations

28 November 2000 PR133/2000

Interim Biosecurity Package Earns Congratulations

The Minister for the Environment, Hon Marian Hobbs, should be congratulated for recognising that the level of protection is lagging behind the growth in trade and travel risks, and pushing through the new biosecurity package.

Minister for the Environment Marion Hobbs announced $2.75m of new spending on biosecurity, including the traveller awareness and processing measures that Federated Farmers has been lobbying towards for some time. Another area of concern for the federation - better targeting and monitoring of shipping containers - has been funded.

"Better targeting of containers has been a glaring need for some time. Only 21 percent are inspected at the moment, and that is not good enough," said Biosecurity spokesperson Tom Lambie.

"This is a welcome interim package until the comprehensive Biosecurity Strategy is worked out and in place in two years time. Those two years is far too long a time for New Zealand's biosecurity to be less than optimal."

"The real challenge will be to implement, and fully fund, that biosecurity strategy."

"The federation is extremely concerned that the package failed to include the instant fines needed for travellers bringing in food and plant material contrary to the biosecurity regulations."

"Educating travellers is all very well, but instant fines are needed to enforce compliance at the border," Mr Lambie said.

ENDS For further information: Tom Lambie 026-113-161 Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269

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