Thursday, 05 May 2022 10:49

Govt to invest in biosecurity

Written by  Staff Reporters
Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor. Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Government will strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system as part of Budget 2022, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and O’Connor visited the national bulk milk testing laboratory MilkTestNZ in Waikato today to mark the success of the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) programme.

There, the pair announced $42.9 million in funding to bolster the biosecurity system as part of Budget 2022 and a further $68 million over the next year for M. bovis eradication.

“New Zealand’s flora, fauna and livestock are the foundations of our primary sector, economy, rural communities and our economic security,” O’Connor said.

“The world is reopening from the pandemic. With increased travel alongside a warming climate we face challenges from pests and diseases, which requires further investments to strengthen our biosecurity system.”

He said New Zealand’s primary sector revenue has grown, with $50.8 billion forecast for the year ending June 2022, adding that it is ‘vital’ that farmers’ and growers’ work is protected by a strong biosecurity system.

“This support is aimed at protecting biodiversity, bolstering biosecurity, improving marine system resilience, and enabling climate resilience. A strong biosecurity system helps protect the productivity of New Zealand’s most important export sector and guard our taonga species.

 “New Zealand has a world-class biosecurity system, but we need to ensure we can meet the challenges presented by increased cargo freight, and from pests like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.”

O’Connor said biosecurity protections are based on a multi-layered system to reduce risk and manage incursions when pests arrive.

“There is biosecurity work conducted offshore (pre-border), at the border, domestically within New Zealand (post border), and through our trade. As much risk as possible is managed offshore while still enabling trade to flow. All goods, craft and passengers that cross the border are screened for risk and there are many activities within New Zealand to eradicate pests or reduce their harm. 

 “We’ve shown with Mycoplasma bovis what we can achieve together when an incursion happens, but we want to reduce risk as much as possible to prevent the costs and effects for individual farmers and growers.

“We are chasing down the last remnants of M. bovis and that’s a credit to all involved and Budget 2022 includes $68m for this eradication programme over the next year,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said he wanted all New Zealanders to see biosecurity as important and encouraged them to report concerns via the MPI pest hotline 0800 99 66 or via the reporting website https://report.mpi.govt.nz/pest/.

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