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Biosecurity Summit takes global approach

Media release

6 November 2006


Biosecurity Summit takes global approach

How climate change will affect human health risk is one of the topics being discussed at the fourth annual Biosecurity Summit being held in Wellington on 7-8 November 2006.

The theme for this year’s summit is “Thinking Globally – Acting Locally” and includes presentations from leading international and national practitioners and researchers in biosecurity. Convened by Biosecurity New Zealand, the summit provides a forum for those involved and interested in biosecurity to meet, discuss issues, and share information on latest developments.

“It is appropriate to reflect on how the biosecurity system needs to respond to pressures of the future, including taking responsibility for our own biosecurity risks,” says MAF Director-General Murray Sherwin.

“The last ten years have seen some dramatic changes within New Zealand and throughout the world. One of these is the ease of travel and trade. The number of people flying into New Zealand in the last financial year was almost double that of ten years ago. The numbers of used vehicles and sea containers being imported have more than doubled.

Mr Sherwin says there is also increasing domestic pressure to keep out pests and diseases that could potentially impact on our economy or standard of living. “New Zealand depends more on its primary production than every other OECD nation, and pests can seriously affect the volume and quality of our products and our capacity to trade. Risks to our unique environmental values are also important.”

“One of the main ways we can work smarter is by cooperating with other government agencies, industries, international trade partners and regional councils. Individuals and non-governmental organisations play a vital role in keeping New Zealand safe and free of pests and you can expect to see a consistent theme emerging about the importance of people understanding and managing their own biosecurity risks,” says Mr Sherwin.

Other topics covered at the Summit include: preparing for an avian influenza outbreak; managing incursion impacts; balancing biosecurity and trade; and science directions in biosecurity.

The full programme is available on the Biosecurity New Zealand website www.biosecurity.govt.nz

ENDS

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