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Review shows sneaky pests beyond the border

Review shows sneaky pests beyond the border.

Forest and Bird is calling for government action after the release of a report highlighting gaps in New Zealand biosecurity system that allow pests to sneak past New Zealand's borders undetected.

"The 34,000 West Auckland households being sprayed for painted apple moth would almost certainly agree that when it comes to pests, prevention is better than cure," said Forest and Bird's Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey

"Setting up a thorough system to find new pests would be a big step towards preventing a repeat of the problems with painted apple moth," Geoff Keey said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) today released a review of biosecurity surveillance that makes 98 recommendations on ways to find new pests before they become a problem.

The review also highlights weaknesses in New Zealand's current biosecurity system including: A lack of coordination across government agencies.

No national system for collating or easily accessing information about plant and animal pests.

Inadequate systems for finding new environmental pests before they become a problem.

"New Zealand spends millions of dollars every year trying preventing pests from ruining our natural environment and driving species like kiwi and kakapo to extinction. We don't need any more pests," said Geoff Keey.

"In practical terms government needs to do more and do better when it comes to spotting pests before they become a problem", said Geoff Keey.

"The benefits of looking for pests before they become a problem were proven when surveillance for red imported fire ants revealed crazy ants, one of the world's worst pests. It's common sense really. Yet there is no guarantee that the fire ant surveillance will continue", Geoff Keey said.

"Forest and Bird will be looking to see what action the government takes as a result of this review," Geoff Keey said.

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