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Biosecurity Audit Welcomed By MAF

Biosecurity Audit Welcomed By MAF

MAF Acting Director-General, Larry Fergusson, welcomed the release of an audit into biosecurity functions by the Office of the Controller and Auditor General today.

Larry Fergusson said the audit report provided some useful insights into the management of biosecurity risks and had been a valuable resource for developing the upcoming draft Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand.

“MAF’s role in biosecurity has been evolving steadily since the creation of the Biosecurity Authority three years ago in July 1999. In that relatively short time we have made significant advances and as noted in this audit report we are continuing to accept and address old and new issues alike,” Larry Fergusson said.

“MAF is encouraged that New Zealand’s biosecurity system has again been recognised as a world leader. MAF continues to constructively identify, examine and improve the management of biosecurity risks. We recently published the results of an independent review of biosecurity surveillance - noted in the Auditor General’s report as the weakest part of the biosecurity programme.

“Managing biosecurity risks is a complex business involving central and local government, industry, interest groups and the wider public. It is constantly changing as new threats emerge, and new methods to combat those threats are developed.

“We recognise the high expectations MAF has to meet. The draft Biosecurity Strategy, due for release shortly, should provide a real focal point for deciding future elements of the management of biosecurity risks, and that’s where our direction will come from as we move into 2003,” Larry Fergusson said.

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