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Lowly ranked Ardern in fantasy biosecurity world

Lowly ranked Ardern in fantasy world on biosecurity

Shane Ardern, ranked 23 in the National Party pecking order, shows his incompetence in biosecurity by suggesting there is a chance of always achieving 100 per cent success in incursion response, and promoting pest management strategies for pests we don't have, according to Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton.

"There is always the risk of failure in anything, especially biosecurity. For example, there was never a 100 per cent chance that spraying for either the painted apple moth or the Asian gypsy moth, would be successful but we had to try. If you eradicate a pest one day, it might revist you the next.

"Mr Ardern is in fantasy land if he thinks otherwise, and he would squander enormous resources, in a futile way, were he to try to achieve 100 per cent certainty of response.

"He also needs to study the law in this area because legally (and logically), you cannot have a pest management strategy before incursions happen - they get put in place after eradication is ruled out and when management on a national basis is required - for example for varroa bee mite or foulbrood.

"What this shows is National is unrealistic, clearly not ready for government, and can't be trusted with the taxpayers chequebook to make adequate decisions about the best place to dedicate resources that will always be limited.

"We are spending 65 per cent more on baseline biosecurity funding than previous governments. Under National in 1999/00 the budget for biosecurity was $91 million. Under Labour-Progressive we invested over $150 million for the 2004/05 year.

"Since 1999 we have improved surveillance, introduced universal screening of air crew, passengers, containers and mail. There are now instant fines for biosecurity breaches at airports, and we have launched a public awareness campaign.

"Ardern's comments only go to further indicate National's increasing level of ignorance regarding our primary industries, on top of the low ranking for their biosecurity spokesperson. Mr Ardern doesn't give any reason for confidence in their representation of this crucial sector of New Zealand's economic base," Jim Anderton said.

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