Minister is returning from Dubai to visit fruit fly biosecurity operation

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says the finding of a second unwanted fruit fly is disappointing and the Government is committed to ensuring it doesn’t establish here.

He said getting rid of the fruit fly is New Zealand’s most well-oiled biosecurity response.

“We’ve been here several times before and each time we’ve successfully got rid of this horticultural pest,” Damien O’Connor said.

“There will be cross-agency support for Biosecurity NZ to ensure it can call on all the resources it needs given the fruit fly responses alongside Mycoplasma bovis.

“As part of our multi-layered biosecurity system, the 7500 traps that lure the fruit fly for early detection during this summer risk season have done their job.”

Two fruit flies was not an incursion as happened in 2014 when the fruit fly was found twice in Whangarei, but as the response ramps up O’Connor urged the local community to be vigilant.

“This is a pest that could significantly harm our $5.5 billion horticulture sector and is why the Government is committed to do what it takes to keep it from establishing here.”

The response may be disruptive to the local community and businesses but their cooperation was appreciated and any loss caused by the response would be compensated.

“Ever more visitors, a changing climate and more trade all contribute to biosecurity risk and this is the reason we are strengthening the system, including an extra $10 million at the Budget to bolster our systems offshore, and why we’re overhauling our 25-year-old Biosecurity Act to make it fit for the future we face,” O’Connor said.

“It is also the reason we take a tough approach at the border when people, mistakenly or not, have fruit or veggies on them.”

Mr O’Connor is returning early from a trade trip in Dubai and will be on-site in Otara tomorrow morning.

Source:  Minister of Biosecurity

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