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Operation biosecurity: protecting the economy

1 November 2005

Operation biosecurity: protecting economic well-being

The biggest threat we face to our economic well-being is biological, according to Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton who addressed the NZ Biosecurity Summit being held in Christchurch today.

"We often debate threats from outside New Zealand and worry about human aggressors and conflicts between nations being extended to involve New Zealand. We also are concerned about undesirables crossing our border.

"Yet the most imminent threats to our well-being are not direct personal action by people from outside of New Zealand. The most real threats we know of are biological threats to our primary industries and those businesses dependent upon them.

"The threats cover all environments - land, marine and freshwater. They range from foot and mouth to fruit fly. There is, in fact, a long list of undesirables we know about, and a list just as long, which we can scarcely begin to think about.

"Biosecurity work is really a test of endurance rather than short, sharp victories. Our strategy must be to target our time, money and effort where we can most effectively reduce risk, because no incursion response will ever enjoy a one hundred percent chance of success.

"All New Zealanders must be encouraged to see this as 'their fight', not just the government or someone else's problem. We must work together to reduce risks and maximise the return on our biosecurity investment. I look forward to working on this challenge with our communities, industries and scientists, in order to protect the well-being of our economy and, therefore, all New Zealanders," Jim Anderton said.

Full speech notes are available at www.beehive.govt.nz/anderton or www.progressiveparty.org.nz.

ENDS

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