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Profiting from Alien Pest Destruction

Forest and Bird believe New Zealand could turn alien pest problems into a huge economic opportunity by becoming a world leader in the development of effective biosecurity systems and technology.

Forest and Bird's Conservation Director Kevin Smith said the world was crying out for innovative ways of curbing the global spread of alien weeds and pests.

"The countries and companies that take the lead in developing ways of shipping goods and transporting people around the globe free of hitch-hiking alien species will make their fortunes."

"Alien species cause an estimated US $136 billion damage to the US economy each year and this cost is predicted to increase by 50% over the next 20 years. The economic harm to New Zealand from alien species is just under $1 billion a year."

Mr. Smith said that countries cannot afford to continue suffering these economic impacts and are desperately looking for solutions.

"Instead of looking at alien pest invasions as a bottomless pit for government expenditure, we should be solving the problems and turning biosecurity into a huge economic opportunity."

"If we develop the systems and technology to ensure the container trade does not ship snakes, scorpions and other pests around the globe, we can sell this technology to the world."

"We should aim to become a leader in solving the biosecurity nightmares that bedevil world trade and travel."

Mr. Smith praised the efforts of two New Zealand companies who have taken up the biosecurity challenge. "The Mount Maunganui-based Genera Ltd. are pioneering the use of a heat treatment system to kill bugs as an alternative to the use of the ozone-depleting fumigant, methyl bromide. They need government assistance to develop their exciting concept into a workable technology."

Mr. Smith also congratulated the New Zealand-owned Japan Quarantine Inspections who undertake the inspections and cleaning in Japan of used vehicles destined for the New Zealand market.

"An investment in biosecurity technology is a winner all round for a country like New Zealand that is heavily reliant on primary producers and on the tourist appeal of a clean green environment."

"We will benefit by keeping new pests out of the country, by ensuring our exports gain a pest-free reputation, and by selling biosecurity services and technology overseas."

Mr. Smith said New Zealand already led the world in some areas of pest control and eradication. "The Department of Conservation is the best in the world at eradicating rats from islands, and no one can kill goats more effectively than the Paeroa-based ProHunt company. ProHunt have already won contracts to cull goats on Australia's Lord Howe Island and on the Galapagos Islands."

...ends

Company contacts: Mark Greenwood, Managing Director, Genera Ltd. Ph: 07 575 6530 Japan Quarantine Inspections, Roy Metge Ph: 09 309 0667 Or Peter Bissett Ph: 09 303 3487

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