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A biosecurity strategy for New Zealand

Biosecurity Council

Monday 25 August, 2003 Media release

A biosecurity strategy for New Zealand

It has taken almost three years of effort and contribution by hundreds of New Zealanders to produce New Zealand's first biosecurity strategy according to Biosecurity Council chair, Dr John Hellstrom.

"The Council welcomes the Government's adoption of its proposed biosecurity strategy for New Zealand as evidence of commitment to provide greater security from the damaging effects of exotic pests and diseases" Dr Hellstrom said.

"The Council is confident New Zealand already has world-leading biosecurity systems but in the face of increasing demands there's no room for complacency. Society expects more protection than ever before from biosecurity, even while the range of sources, speed of movement and volume of cargo and people crossing our borders grows rapidly.

"The strategy identifies the issues arising from changing a system largely directed at protecting our economy, to one which also adequately addresses the biosecurity threats to people and the environment. Some things need to be done urgently and the Council has recommended ten first steps to improve governance, strategic leadership and funding as well as engaging community support and improving decision-making.

"Biosecurity can quickly consume large amounts of resources so it's critical there's wide discussion on priorities and that consistent and fair processes are used for deciding what to do. It's important now for the Government to get on quickly with the changes and improvements that are needed to achieve the vision in the strategy of New Zealand as a country kept protected from the harm caused by exotic pests and diseases.

"The Council has set out 57 expectations about how biosecurity will work in the future. These will provide a way for all New Zealanders to monitor the response to the strategy and be confident that the system is performing as it should be," Dr Hellstrom concluded.


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