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Foot And Mouth Disease Measures Encouraging

6 March 2001

Federated Farmers Encouraged By Agriculture Minister's Foot And Mouth Disease Measures

Federated Farmers' President Alistair Polson said today he was encouraged by Minister of Agriculture Jim Sutton's commitment to introduce extra measures to ensure that New Zealand's border protection will offer as close to 100 percent protection as possible.

"Federated Farmers is pleased to see that the Government is taking the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) seriously," said Mr Polson.

"Farmers were feeling powerless. They have no control over what is considered by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) officials as an "acceptable" level of risk and were seeking assurances from Government that everything that could be done was being done,"

"The Minister's commitment to beefing up New Zealand's border protection to as near to 100 percent protection as possible is excellent news."

Federated Farmers also supports the FMD publicity campaigns that MAF intends to undertake. While one campaign will target farmers, another will focus on urban New Zealanders. The Minister will also be seeking support from Cabinet to fund a package of extra border control measures on Monday.

"If New Zealand were to experience an outbreak of FMD the repercussions would be economy-wide and not just affect farming. As the Minister said, if FMD did become established in New Zealand our living standard would drop by an estimated 25 percent. All New Zealanders need to be mindful of New Zealand's unique biosecurity status and play their part in protecting it."

"The package put to Cabinet on Monday must include provision for all luggage to be x-rayed, in-bound traveller education and substantial fines for people putting our biosecurity at risk, otherwise it will fall short of the mark."

ENDS


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