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Alarm at wait-and-see on biosecurity

Shane Ardern
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

3 November 2005

Alarm at wait-and-see on biosecurity

National’s Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern, says the primary production sector should be very worried by the Clark/Peters Government’s sit-and-wait attitude to pest incursions.

“It is vital that when an incursion is discovered we contain it and immediately work on eradication. It took this Government five years to implement a Varroa Bee Mite strategy and we are still counting the costs not only to the industry but also to New Zealand.

“To do this we need to have a strategy and an agreement on costs between the Government and the affected industry.

“For Mr Anderton to be saying we cannot have a pest management strategy before incursions occur is crazy. The fact is that legally we can have such strategies set up, as we do with foot-and-mouth, or is he saying that is illegal?

“Our own internationally recognised expert, Professor Roger Morris, is setting up strategies in other countries, and we must do the same.

“It makes economic sense to spend money on border control, and have plans in case something gets through. Mr Anderton is in the dark ages if he thinks the best strategy is to sit and wait.

“Scientists have warned that with increasing trade and tourism it is not a matter of if but when there will be more incursions,” Mr Ardern says.

“As a previous Minister of Economic Development, Mr Anderton must accept there will be no development if our primary industries are devastated by incursions.”

ENDS

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