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Negative didymo result good news, timely reminder

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

2nd November 2006 Press release

Negative didymo result good news, but a timely reminder to Check, Clean and Dry aquatic equipment this summer

News that the suspect Rangitikei River sample is not didymo is a timely reminder of the necessity to take precautions to prevent the spread of aquatic pests, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

“Didymo is an invasive micro-organism that can be spread in a single drop of water, for which no control currently exists. Our best scientists are trying to provide some options, but even if they can, personal responsibility to Check, Clean, and Dry equipment between waterways will always be the best way of slowing the spread of didymo,” Jim Anderton said.

“The mindset that any area is didymo-free and therefore safe is dangerous and incredibly damaging to the personal responsibility we need across New Zealand. Cleaning equipment between waterways is required regardless of location or perceived risk and not just for didymo, but other aquatic pests as well. Cleaning shouldn’t just be a habit, it should be a religion. Didymo is microscopic, and normally you won’t see it.

“A suspect sample is not a failure, it is Biosecurity New Zealand doing the job it is here to do, and doing well. This situation is nothing Insecurity New Zealand hasn’t dealt with at least five times already. Special mention should be made of Horizons Manawatu for their vigilance in advising Biosecurity New Zealand of their concerns and taking the sample.

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“Biosecurity New Zealand and its partner organisations will be targeting high-risk activities over the busy summer months – especially movement between the North and South Islands – the fact remains that the best way to protect our rivers everywhere in New Zealand is personal responsibility.”

Mr Anderton said there had been huge buy-in of the personal responsibility message and massive support at a community level, in the South Island and on the North Island’s Central Volcanic Plateau.

“Those communities know what is at stake and are to be congratulated for their efforts,” Jim Anderton said.

Mr Anderton said that when dealing with possible biosecurity incursions it was critical to confirm the situation first and not make kneejerk reactions which would waste taxpayer money. Some political party spokespersons please take note!

ENDS

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