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Ewen-Street calls for crack-down on latest invader

5 November, 2004

Ewen-Street calls for crack-down on latest invader

Green MP, Ian Ewen-Street is calling for Biosecurity NZ eradicate the latest threat to this country's unique eco-systems before it can get established in the wild.

Auckland Regional Council staff have caught a Red-Eared Sliding Turtle near Bethells Beach and are warning Aucklanders to be on the look-out for more. The turtle is a native of America's Mississippi Valley and has the potential to impact on native plants and animals.

"I'm told they make good pets," said Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Party's Biosecurity spokesperson. "But this is one pet best kept in its tank or, even better, left in its natural environment in the US.

"This species is very invasive in countries with temperate climates like ours and has been banned from importation elsewhere because of the ease with which it establishes itself in the wild."

Mr Ewen-Street said that recent history should have taught biosecurity officials that invasions like these were best nipped in the bud.

"It took MAF two-and-a-half years to confront the Painted Apple Moth problem. By the time it took action a small problem had become a large one and MAF's response was to spray thousands of Aucklanders with a toxic chemical cocktail.

"Biosecurity NZ should act now to define the extent of the invasion and take action, before the turtles - and the problems - multiply."


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