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National Biosecurity Centre Planned For Upper Hutt

National Biosecurity Centre Planned For Upper Hutt

The Government has approved in principle the establishment of a National Centre for Emerging Diseases and Biosecurity at Wallaceville, Upper Hutt.

The new centre would add significantly to the country's capability to safeguard human and animal health and to protect the economy. It would comprise new state of the art Environmental Science and Research laboratories and new staff with existing Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry National Centre for Disease Investigation and AgriQuality facilities.

Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said the proposal as approved would enhance our national capabilities to provide animal health protection and biosecurity services. It would also enable an enhanced proactive, national response to human diseases such as meningococcal and influenza epidemics.

"Biosecurity is extremely important to New Zealand, and the Labour-Progressive Government takes its responsibilities to ensure that foreign pests and diseases don't establish in New Zealand seriously."

Minister for Crown Research Institutes Pete Hodgson said the addition of new ESR personnel and facilities would really boost our capability to monitor and respond to new and emerging human and animal health disease threats such as SARS and avian influenza variants.

"It would be a very significant move. It would concentrate our best scientists in the field in a single place where they can all work together using the very best facilities."

This government has already increased baseline biosecurity funding by almost 60 per cent since it came to office. It has also introduced instant fines for biosecurity breaches, imposed 100 per cent screening of all air passengers and sea containers, and employed more staff and detector dogs.

The new facilities planned for the site would be situated on land currently owned by AgResearch.


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