Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust
2nd November 2006 Press release
Negative didymo result good news, but a timely reminder to Check, Clean and Dry aquatic equipment this summer
News that the suspect Rangitikei River sample is not didymo is a timely reminder of the necessity to take precautions to
prevent the spread of aquatic pests, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.
“Didymo is an invasive micro-organism that can be spread in a single drop of water, for which no control currently
exists. Our best scientists are trying to provide some options, but even if they can, personal responsibility to Check,
Clean, and Dry equipment between waterways will always be the best way of slowing the spread of didymo,” Jim Anderton
“The mindset that any area is didymo-free and therefore safe is dangerous and incredibly damaging to the personal
responsibility we need across New Zealand. Cleaning equipment between waterways is required regardless of location or
perceived risk and not just for didymo, but other aquatic pests as well. Cleaning shouldn’t just be a habit, it should
be a religion. Didymo is microscopic, and normally you won’t see it.
“A suspect sample is not a failure, it is Biosecurity New Zealand doing the job it is here to do, and doing well. This
situation is nothing Insecurity New Zealand hasn’t dealt with at least five times already. Special mention should be
made of Horizons Manawatu for their vigilance in advising Biosecurity New Zealand of their concerns and taking the
“Biosecurity New Zealand and its partner organisations will be targeting high-risk activities over the busy summer
months – especially movement between the North and South Islands – the fact remains that the best way to protect our
rivers everywhere in New Zealand is personal responsibility.”
Mr Anderton said there had been huge buy-in of the personal responsibility message and massive support at a community
level, in the South Island and on the North Island’s Central Volcanic Plateau.
“Those communities know what is at stake and are to be congratulated for their efforts,” Jim Anderton said.
Mr Anderton said that when dealing with possible biosecurity incursions it was critical to confirm the situation first
and not make kneejerk reactions which would waste taxpayer money. Some political party spokespersons please take note!