Bay News column

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Last week we had the Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy in Tauranga. I have had a couple of people raise concerns with me about the recent fruit fly outbreak in Auckland so it was good to have the Minister here to talk to some local industry leaders and kiwifruit growers.

I can assure you that Minister Guy is in no doubt of the importance of the horticulture industry to the Bay of Plenty region, and in particular the kiwifruit industry, which could be severely damaged by an outbreak here. He said that biosecurity is his number one priority.

After this recent outbreak is eradicated the Minister will be reviewing biosecurity procedures in consultation with the industry to see if there is more that can be done to further reduce the risk of future outbreaks.

A lot has already been done. In the last two years around 125 new quarantine inspectors and more detector dog teams are working on the frontline, and new x-ray machines have been installed at our international airports.

We have a world class, multi-layered biosecurity system with measures in place offshore, at the border, and within New Zealand to prevent pests becoming established here.

From time to time these incidents will occur, and we have shown before that we are more than capable of dealing with an outbreak of this nature. Our response plans have been determined as consistent with international best practice and are continually being assessed.

I will be keeping a close watch on this issue and am very interested in the discussions that are to come.