INDEPENDENT NEWS

Biosecurity audit a wake-up call

Published: Thu 28 Nov 2002 01:34 PM
Biosecurity audit a wake-up call
The findings of an audit into biosecurity in New Zealand should finally make the Government sit up and take notice of the flaws in this crucial area, says National’s Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.
“The report by the Auditor General recognised surveillance as one of the weakest parts of this country’s biosecurity programme. But this is just one area we’ve been hounding the Government about for a long time.
“Lack of funding, patchy co-ordination between government departments and barriers to treating incursions are among the many problems our borders face.
“When you hear of a worker identifying a foreign insect in an overseas container being told to ‘open up and use fly spray’, you know the Government hasn’t got its biosecurity act together.”
Mr Ardern targets the issue of an emergency response fund as one area he wants investigated.
“It was also disappointing that marine biosecurity was not included in this report. We should be taking action now to stop ships dispersing algae and other diseases into our waters, before our marine and plant life is seriously threatened.
“I want this report to make the Government take urgent action on biosecurity,” says Mr Ardern.

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