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MPI Targets the Wrong Kind of ‘P’

Ron Mark MP

New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Spokesperson for Police

List MP based in Wairarapa
4 NOVEMBER 2016

MPI Targets the Wrong Kind of ‘P’

New Zealand First is unhappy with Ministerial answers after police were used to raid a Wairarapa farm for pea plants and concerns pea weevil could have reached Canterbury.

“Perhaps when police heard ‘P’ they probably didn’t realise MPI meant Peas,” says Deputy Leader and Police Spokesperson Ron Mark, who is based in Wairarapa.

“Given how stretched rural police are, a Wairarapa raid for illicit peas wasn’t their best use.

“In greenlighting MPI officiousness, the Minister seems to have forgotten something called intent. There’s nothing to suggest farmers are flouting the law but it never dawned on MPI that a farm that formerly grew peas may have stray seeds that would voluntarily sprout.

“Of even more concern is how late MPI got its act together after discovering pea weevil and how much had been transported around New Zealand in that time. Minister Guy has also confirmed that a Canterbury farmer has reported to MPI suspected pea weevil.

“If it is true, as Minister Guy claims that ‘no pea weevil was detected’ in Canterbury, why then have our Official Information Act requests been extended? This is a $160m industry or does that not matter to this government because it’s not Auckland?

“If MPI has categorically ruled out the spread of pea weevil into the South Island, why reply ‘the farmer took steps on his property that prevents the risk of pea weevil spread’ and ‘MPI will continue to monitor these sites to confirm that there is no pea weevil present’?

“It is becoming clear that what does need to be examined is the appallingly incompetent way that MPI have responded to this incursion,” says Mr Mark.

Ministerial Answers to Questions for Written Answer

Question: Further to his answers to questions 11157 (2016), 11159 (2016 and 11161 (2016), has Pea Weevil been found in Canterbury or more specifically, Mid-Canterbury from peas or pea related material originally from Wairarapa?

Portfolio: Primary Industries
Minister: Hon Nathan Guy
Date Lodged:13/09/2016

Answer Text: No. MPI received a report that a farmer in Mid-Canterbury suspected the presence of pea weevil on seed dressing on his property. MPI subsequently visited the farm, and the seed processor that supplied the seed dressing. MPI tested each bin of dressed peas at the seed processor, and no pea weevil was detected. Notwithstanding this, the farmer took steps on his property that prevents the risk of pea weevil spread, if any pea weevil were present. MPI will continue to monitor these sites to confirm that there is no pea weevil present.

Question: Further to his answers to questions 11157 (2016), 11159 (2016), 11160 (2016) and 11161 (2016), have MPI officials factored in the prospect of volunteer peas when enforcing a growing ban or seeking the assistance of uniformed police officers?

Portfolio: Primary Industries
Minister: Hon Nathan Guy
Date Lodged:14/09/2016

Answer Text: MPI has response plans in place to deal with the possibility of pea plants that have not been deliberately planted (volunteer plants). The Biosecurity Act requires the presence of a Constable when a search warrant is being executed as part of MPI compliance activities.

Question: Further to his answers to questions 11157 (2016), 11159 (2016), 11160 (2016) and 11161 (2016), if a property in Wairarapa was subject to MPI search in relation to the pea growing ban, would that normally necessitate the seizure of the farmer’s computer?

Portfolio: Primary Industries
Minister: Hon Nathan Guy
Date Lodged:14/09/2016

Answer Text: The examination of a computer may be necessary to secure evidence that the law has been breached.

ENDS


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