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Labour heads for another biosecurity failure

Shane Ardern MP
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

31 October 2006

Labour heads for another biosecurity failure

The possible Didymo outbreak in the Rangitikei River signals yet another failure by the Labour Government to control biosecurity risks, says National Party Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

"How much longer must New Zealand read headlines of biosecurity incursions spreading unchecked? We all hope that the report of Didymo in the Rangitikei River proves to be a false alarm.

"However, the lack of direction and commitment by Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton means that even if this is a false alarm, Didymo will eventually reach the North Island.

"People spread Didymo - a fact the Minister learnt the hard way when he did not take immediate action after its discovery in the South Island.

"The Minister has been negligent in setting up controls and programmes in the North Island and pathetically slow in protecting the Didymo-free areas.

"Official Government papers say Didymo's spread could cost New Zealand $285 million over eight years through its impact on fisheries, drinking water, agriculture, industry, tourism, recreation and biodiversity.

"The Minister is letting Biosecurity NZ down by not putting in place viable programmes to stop the spread of Didymo.

"He has once again shrugged his shoulders and accepted the inevitable spread of this algae into the North Island. National is sick of what is nothing more than token support from the Minister for proper controls."

ENDS


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