INDEPENDENT NEWS

Commandeering Cool Stores Another Bird Flu Blow

Published: Fri 18 Nov 2005 12:43 AM
Commandeering Cool Stores Another Bird Flu Blow to Business
Heather Roy
Friday, 18 November 2005
Press Releases - Economy
"The Ministry of Health's announcement that cool stores would be commandeered for use as morgues in a bird flu outbreak is a further blow to the business and primary production sectors," warns ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy.
"The 'whole of government' approach to pandemic and disaster planning is nothing more than old fashioned stovepipe thinking," Mrs Roy said.
"Primary producers rely on clean, safe cool stores for transporting meat, fruit and vegetables. Even to suggest that they would be confiscated for storing bird flu casualties is de-stabilising to the sector.
"Imagine how long it would take after an outbreak to convince our trading partners that these stores were free of infection.
"The New Zealand Defence Force has huge experience in dealing with mass casualties. It is astonishing that the government has not sought the advice of NZDF medical staff who would be able to tell them that refrigerated shipping containers or trucks are perfectly adequate for this purpose - without causing widespread disruption to the primary sector.
"The Labour Government would be well advised to seek advice from the experts instead of making unwise decisions that would make economic recovery extremely difficult for our primary and business sectors," said Mrs Roy.
ENDS

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