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No Cats Allowed; MAF Tightens Sea Container Rules

Thursday, February 26, 2004 - Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Sorry - no cats allowed; MAF tightens sea container rules

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has tightened the rules for on-line accreditation for sea container inspectors following Forest and Bird's online accreditation of a cat in just 8 minutes. Forest and Bird welcomes the changes, but more is needed to protect New Zealand from new pests arriving on sea containers.

"While cats are no longer allowed, these changes will help to prevent the unscrupulous and incompetent from becoming accredited," said Forest and Bird's Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey.

"The declaration that prospective 'accredited persons' must fill out is a step in the right direction. However, what this country really needs is independent MAF employed inspectors to avoid future painted apple month outbreaks," he said.

"People are now required to actually read the rules applying to the importation of sea containers before becoming accredited and they have to sign a declaration that the information provided is true and accurate. People must also have the appropriate authority from their employers to do the job," he said.

"However, sea container inspections need skill and practical experience. Forest and Bird looks forward to the development of a practical 'on the wharf' training programme for accredited persons so that they become skilled in searching for, and identifying the huge range of potential pests that they may encounter," he said.

Notes

New addition to accreditation process given below:

Declarations (please check the boxes)*

I declare have read the 'Import Health Standard for Sea Containers from All Countries' and the associated Guide to the New Zealand Import Health Standard for Sea Containers.

I confirm that I have the delegated authority of the company to meet the requirements. I understand that the facility and person(s) are subject to audit and that non-compliance with the standards may lead to suspension or withdrawal of MAF approval or prosecution under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

I confirm that the information that I have given is true and accurate and that the person named above will complete this course.

See: http://www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity/border/transitional-facilities/training/

Contact: Geoff Keey, Communications Officer, 04 385 7374 (w), 021 426 984 Kevin Hackwell, Conservation Manager, 04 385 7374 (w), 04 389 4815 (h), 021 227 8420

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