"The old MAF was so confident in its import health standard for pollen, it said there was no peer-reviewed scientific evidence pollen was a pathway for bacteria," says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers vice-president and spokesperson on biosecurity.
"That contrasts strongly with the independent Sapere Research Group review of how Psa entered New Zealand. This review provides policy makers with a model for independently conducted post-border incursion investigations.
"The Sapere review cuts to the chase. We can give credit to the new Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for opening itself up to soul searching analysis. That said, it comes against a $410 million backdrop; the projected cost of this biosecurity failure.
"Even in tough economic times, Federated Farmers believes there should be more resources for biosecurity than just reprioritising current ones.
"We need biosecurity to be robust because it is our first and last line of environmental and economic defence. Any homeowner knows scrimping on insurance is a false economy when you need to claim against it. Incursions like Psa not only cost export revenue but jobs too.
"Biosecurity is a tangible feature driving our overall reputation as an exporter and as a destination. Tourism is a risk vector, but benefits from high levels of biosecurity being maintained. We suggest passenger and cargo levies could be used to build a response fund.
"While the report doesn't mention it, we also need robust systems to identify emerging disease threats and developments.
"Government Industry Agreements are an opportunity for the MPI to integrate information and improve communication with industry. Yet the primary industries shouldn't just leave biosecurity to government as 'its job'. We are pleased this report confirms recent moves by the MPI to give farmers a greater say on border protection.
"One practical example of what Federated Farmers wants to see reinstated is the Animal and Plant Biosecurity Consultative Committees. Disbanded under the old MAF, they provided a valuable exchange of information between industry and the Ministry.
"We believe the MPI now has a golden opportunity to integrate them within Government Industry Agreement frameworks," Rolleston concluded.