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Calls for larger fines for intentional biosecurity breaches

12 July 2017


Tractor and machinery industry calls for larger fines for intentional biosecurity breaches

The Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) is praising the Ministry of Primary Industry for finding a contaminated combine harvester imported from the UK but says fines must be a deterrent for intentional biosecurity breaches.

Last week Christchurch company Gateway Cargo Systems Ltd was fined $3,000 by the Ministry of Primary Industries after it declared a contaminated combine harvester imported from the United Kingdom was brand new. An inspection by MPI at the border found it had been used and was heavily contaminated with more than 700 litres of soil and farm waste in the header unit. MPI said it could have caused “incalculable damage” to New Zealand’s environment.

“We commend MPI for its efforts on this case. It would be all too easy to rely on import paperwork and this shows yet again that MPI’s biosecurity system works exceptionally well,” said TAMA President Roger Nehoff. TAMA represents New Zealand’s importers and manufacturers of tractor and farm machinery.

“However, we are concerned that the $3000 fine is too low and will not be a sufficient deterrent to importers who are often paying upwards of $50,000 for a machine including import and transport costs. We would like to work with MPI to explore whether these could be increased.

“It is very disappointing to see importers are not taking care to keep New Zealand farming safe. It’s up to each company to ensure machinery and parts are clean. Biosecurity protection works best when everyone – MPI and industry – does their bit.”

Mr Nehoff warned farmers to purchase machinery from an accredited dealer who had reputable processes for cleaning machinery.

“You need to be confident a second-hand machine had been cleaned property before it leaves its origin. If it gets stopped - and it will - the machine will likely need to be water-blasted, which will damage the machine if water gets into the sensor. All those costs of cleaning and repairs will go to the purchaser importing it. Rather than saving money, you could end up tens of thousands out of pocket.”

All TAMA members follow MPI import procedures including using an accredited facility to receive containers and machinery.

Ends.

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