Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor claims the success of the M. bovis eradication programme has saved NZ billions of dollars.
They say this will bolster New Zealand’s frontline protection against pests and diseases in time for the pre-Christmas mail rush and peak international visitor season.
Biosecurity New Zealand northern regional commissioner Michael Inglis says the quarantine officers graduated in Auckland last week after completing a 12-week training programme.
“The training gives the officers a comprehensive understanding of the threats to our environment and primary industries, and the skills they need to inspect and make biosecurity clearance decisions about good accompanying travellers to New Zealand,” says Inglis.
“The new recruits are introduced to the role that quarantine offices play as guardians for our way of life,” he says.
All of the new quarantine officers will be deployed at Auckland International Airport.
To bolster ranks across the country, an additional 19 officers – eight in Christchurch, seven in Wellington, and four in Queenstown – will graduate early next month.
The new detector dog handlers will join Biosecurity New Zealand’s border team this week, after graduating from their own 12-week training programme.
The trainees have been learning together how to manage the demands of detection in busy international airports and mail centres.
Two of the handlers will start work in Auckland, either at the airport or International Mail Centre. The remaining two will be deployed at Wellington and Christchurch airports.
“The new officers and handlers will play a critical part in protecting our economy and precious natural environment from potential harmful pests and diseases,” says Inglis.
This summer, a key focus for Biosecurity New Zealand’s frontline staff is keeping out pests and diseases that could have a devastating impact on our economy and environment – things like exotic fruit flies and brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).
“These potential intruders are especially active in summer and pose a direct threat to our hard-working growers and farmers, who underpin rural communities and our economic wellbeing,” Inglis says.
“We urge all travellers entering the country to be vigilant and follow all biosecurity instructions carefully.”