9 September 2009
Government biosecurity cut backs leaves billion dollar industry vulnerable
The National Government’s decision to make more than 50 workers whose job it is to protect New Zealand from biosecurity
risks leaves this country’s primary production industries vulnerable, Labour Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor
“The National Government carried out token consultation over redundancies with the result being people are losing their
jobs and regional biosecurity operations will end up being reduced,” Damien O’Connor said.
“The reduction in regional staff will mean that areas like Nelson and Timaru may be unable to cope with a sudden and
urgent biosecurity issue or pests that could damage New Zealand primary production industries such as our fruit growing
and dairy farming.
“Last year there were 66 incursions of unwanted pests and organisms dealt with by New Zealand’s biosecurity staff. Now
less staff will be charged with protecting our borders from these pests at the same time as John Key announces plans to
throw New Zealand’s borders open to Australian visitors.
“Opening our borders up means we should be increasing surveillance at the borders not decreasing it.
“New Zealand is completely reliant on our primary industries to drive our economy and making them more vulnerable to
potential dangers through staff cuts is ludicrous.
“The primary production industries will be insulted and worried by the Government’s decision to totally disregard their
fear of such biosecurity cutbacks,” Damien O’Connor said.