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Another Fumble From Bumbling Minister

Marian Hobbs' new found enthusiasm for instant fines for biosecurity infringements demonstrates, yet again, that she is out of touch with her portfolio, National's Biosecurity spokesperson David Carter said today.

Ms Hobbs enthusiastically proposed that option at a select committee hearing yesterday.

"She doesn't seem to realise that she has had the ability to introduce instant fines since 1999 when National amended the Biosecurity Act.

"An Official Information release shows MAF pushed the Minister for that change, and all she had to do was secure a small amount of funding in the last Budget.

"I want to know why she did nothing about it during the Budget round, but is now suddenly interested?

"Has it taken her this long to realise that there is a problem?

"A MAF survey concludes that over 500 passengers a week are attempting to smuggle items of food in their baggage. The minister ignored this information.

"This is simply another case of Marian Hobbs displaying complete incompetence in a portfolio area that often requires immediate action. While she is the Minister of Biosecurity, New Zealand's economy is at a grave risk," David Carter said.

Ends

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