Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Keep Out The Spiders

June 14, 2002

Forest and Bird is calling on political parties to make biosecurity and border control an election focus after a MAF report revealed 57 interceptions of exotic spiders on imported table grapes.

"Over 80 percent of these interceptions occurred after the grapes had passed border controls," said Forest and Bird's Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey.

"Many of the spiders are highly poisonous and were found on imported table grapes from Australia, Mexico, Chile and the United States, between 2000 and 2002," he said.

"New Zealanders would be surprised if they knew what organisms were coming into the country. All political parties have a responsibility to tell New Zealanders how they will deal with the problem," he said.

"Exotic introductions like spiders pose a threat to New Zealand's environment. MAF's environmental risk assessment noted that red-backed spiders had been known to catch animals as large as small lizards and even referred to a red-back that caught a mouse and hoisted it into its web," he said

"The report notes that that exotic spiders could eat threatened native invertebrates and out-compete native spiders," he said.

"People worry about spiders arriving in New Zealand on grapes because they don't want to be bitten. But it is important to realise that exotic spiders pose a threat to our native ecosystems too," he said

"New Zealand struggles to deal with the pests we already have in this country. We don't need more," he said.

"Political parties should commit themselves to funding increased surveillance for pests on New Zealand's borders and a quick and effective response to incursions."

"The post-election government also needs to take a tough line on importers who bring in goods contaminated with spiders and other pests. They jeopardize New Zealand's unique environment," he said.


Exotic spider finds between 2000 and 2002 included:

* Western black widow spiders (poisonous)
* Black widow spiders (poisonous)
* Brown widow spider (like black widow but more poisonous)
* Red-backed spiders (poisonous)
* Red-backed jumping spiders
* Wolf spider
* Cobweb spiders
* Yellow sac spider
* Grey house spider
* Harvestman
* Stealthy spider
* Funnel weaver or grass spider
* Orb-web spiders

The MAF report also refers to finds of spider webs, spiderlings (baby spiders) and spiders' eggs.

The New Zealand Conservation Authority estimates that pests cost New Zealand around 1 percent of GDP in lost production and pest and border control. This does not include the full cost of damage to the environment that cannot be expressed in dollar terms.

Trade in table grapes from California was suspended in November 2001 following the post-border detection of four live black widow spiders and a number of other exotic spiders over a three month period.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election