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North Island didymo result of ineffective campaign

Shane Ardern MP
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

1 November 2007

North Island didymo result of ineffective Govt campaign

National’s Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern, says the blame for traces of didymo being found in four central North Island rivers lies squarely at the feet of Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton.

“The Minister knew that the voluntary Check, Clean and Dry campaign was not working, yet he refused to put stronger controls in place.

“What New Zealand needed was strong leadership and a Minister who cared and took action by setting up Cook Strait as a border with stringent compulsory cleaning rules.

“The whole didymo saga has been a fiasco from the moment the noxious algae was discovered in the South Island. Despite it spreading rapidly throughout the waterways, there was only a token effort by this Government to protect the areas that remained unaffected.”

Mr Ardern says Helen Clark, when reshuffling her Cabinet, should have realised that New Zealand needs a strong Biosecurity Minister who doesn’t toss incursions into the too-hard basket.

“Only two weeks ago I met the Tongariro River Users Group to address this issue. They shared my concern that not enough was being done to stop didymo reaching the Tongariro River.

“Sadly, our fears have been realised.”

Ends

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