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Bioterrorist threat taken seriously by MAF

Bioterrorist threat taken seriously by MAF Biosecurity

Threats made by an individual on the TVNZ documentary programme Sunday are being treated seriously by MAF Biosecurity, Director of Forest Biosecurity Peter Thomson said today.

“We were very alarmed by the comments made by the individual in respect of the threatened release of painted apple moth.

Under section 154(m) of the Biosecurity Act 1993, no person shall knowingly communicate, cause to be communicated, release, or cause to be released, or otherwise spread any pest or [unwanted] organism. If an offence occurs the individuals are liable for imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both.

“It is also an offence to harbour a pest or breed it for release,” Peter Thomson said.

“We will be investigating the threats made by the individual interviewed by the Sunday programme and if any breaches of the Act are confirmed we will take immediate action.

“We are aware of the inconvenience the aerial eradication operation causes some western Aucklanders but bioterrorist acts jeopardising the whole eradication programme will not be tolerated.

“The reaction of New Zealanders to the recent incident involving the alleged release of possums on Kapiti Island is a clear indication that the public condemns any bioterrorist threat to their environment or their economy,” Peter Thomson said.

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