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Psa-V Poses New Threat to Northland

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
25 SEPTEMBER 2015

Psa-V Poses New Threat to Northland

Confirmation that Psa-V is in a Whangarei orchard will not surprise growers given the government’s sloppy, neglectful approach to biosecurity at New Zealand’s borders, says New Zealand Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Psa appeared in Kerikeri last year so it was always a question of when, and not if, Whangarei would be clobbered,” says Mr Peters.

“We will write to the Minister of Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, for an explanation, including the support growers can expect.

“The government is spending $8 million less on biosecurity this year than that spent seven years ago. Adjusted for inflation that’s $30m less in real terms and it probably explains why we now have Psa, fruit fly, black widow spiders and weed-infested grains.

“We need a world-class biosecurity system but National’s ill-considered cuts have cost the Bay of Plenty and now Northland’s horticulture industry. This incursion will also see jobs lost, striking right at the outset of the new growing season.

“We also know the Ministry never tested for Psa on imported Chinese and Chilean pollen because it believed pollen could not transmit bacteria. They were wrong and growers are still paying the price.
“While we have this latest outbreak, Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce’s budget freeze is seeing AgResearch axe internationally respected scientists and technicians, the very
people our biggest export industries need,” says Mr Peters.

“Meanwhile, Mr Guy is having a cocktail function on October 21 in Parliament’s banquet hall to celebrate the recovery of the kiwifruit industry. How out of touch can some of these National ministers get? Whangarei National MP Shane Reti has already sent an rsvp to confirm he’ll be there.”

ENDS

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