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Biosecurity boost

Biosecurity New Zealand has recruited 101 new officers to help secure the country’s borders from invasive pests and diseases.

Fifty officers graduated today from their training at a ceremony in Auckland.

A further 51 started training this week and will graduate in time for the busy summer season, says Biosecurity NZ spokesperson Steve Gilbert.

“We rely on highly skilled officers to make the right judgements about what can and can’t cross our borders.

“The intake means we will have more people managing biosecurity risk at the border than ever before.”

Biosecurity NZ now has 600 officers, up from 450 in 2013.

The intake follows a recruitment drive earlier this year that attracted some 2800 applicants.

“There is clearly enormous enthusiasm in the community to get involved with biosecurity and help protect New Zealand.”

The new 101 officers will be split between Auckland (70), Wellington (15), Christchurch (12) and Queenstown (4). New Zealand’s main international airports are based in these locations.

During the ceremony, Ministry for Primary Industries Director-General Ray Smith presented an award for top graduate to Jamie McKenzie, who will be based in Queenstown.

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