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Biosecurity safeguards must be upheld

Biosecurity safeguards must be upheld

Hundreds more cases of Psa-V are being recorded every week in the Kiwifruit industry, a fail mark for New Zealand's biosecurity safeguards, says Labour's spokesperson for Biosecurity Damien O'Connor.

"Returns in the industry are under pressure, crop volumes are lower and the industry is itself having to restructure to mitigate against increasing risks," Damien O'Connor said.

"Kiwifruit growers are under enormous pressure, the spread of Psa has been hugely damaging. Major grower Satara has been forced to write-down its assets by $4.5 million as a result of the outbreak, and Seeka has reported net profit for the year to December 31 may fall by as much as 17 per cent compared to last year, coming in at between $10.6 million to $11.6m.

"The industry is contracting, and the government needs to step up and enforce better safeguards and reassure the industry that they are safe to continue their investments.
"MAF's budget is being cut by $18 million over the next year. We cannot afford biosecurity standards to suffer as a result.

"New Zealand's unique biosecurity status and isolation from serious diseases gives us a major competitive trade advantage. That can't be compromised. Labour will release its Biosecurity policy this week," Damien O'Connor said.

Authorised by Damien O'Connor, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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