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Moth find shows need to overhaul inspections

2 June 2005

Moth find shows need to overhaul container inspections

Independent inspectors should take over sea container inspections following the latest painted apple moth incursion, Forest and Bird said today. Biosecurity New Zealand confirmed today that the painted apple moth found near an Auckland container facility in May was a new arrival.

“Giving the job of inspecting sea containers to importers is a failed experiment,” said Forest and Bird’s Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey.

The painted apple moth find follows fall webworm finds in March and April 2005 that also appear to be new incursions.

“Forest and Bird has always been sceptical of the inspection regime for sea containers. Importers have a vested interest in processing containers as quickly as possible. They have little incentive to report finds of new pests,” Mr Keey said.

“The only way to ensure sea containers are properly checked is to have independent inspectors. They won’t have the vested interest that importers have and are more likely to get the job done properly,” he said.

“New Zealand’s environment and economy are extremely vulnerable to the impact of new pests and diseases. The recent foot and mouth scare was a timely reminder of how serious biosecurity is. We can’t leave container inspections in the hands of people who have an incentive not to report new incursions,” he said.

ENDS

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