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Biosecurity Investigation Is Necessary

Biosecurity Investigation Is Necessary

Thursday 22 Aug 2002

The importation of Australian barley contaminated with 19 weed species under the direct supervision of MAF demands an immediate independent inquiry, ACT Biosecurity Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"It is only thanks to the diligence of two farming families that the disastrous establishment of some of the world's worst weeds has been prevented.

"As MAF is the body responsible for ensuring the highest standards of biosecurity are maintained, we are now faced with the dilemma of who watches the watchers.

"Jim Sutton should be investigating this serious breach. Clearly an independent inquiry is vital to placate the concerns all New Zealanders must have over breaches to our biosecurity.

"In light of importations of seeds allegedly contaminated with GM seed we need to reassure ourselves that MAF systems are working well and obviously they are not at the moment. Appropriate funding is also an issue.

"Should the Ministry choose not to order an inquiry I will be asking the Primary Production Select Committee to do so as a matter of priority," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS


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