28 February, 2013
Minister welcomes biosecurity report
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed a report from the Auditor-General into biosecurity incursions, and says it will be carefully considered by the Government.
“My office has received a copy of the full report today and I’m looking forward to working through it with the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“Biosecurity is my top priority as Minister and we will carefully consider any advice and recommendations that could improve our biosecurity system.
“The report notes improvements MPI already has in progress, including updating plans for dealing with specific pests, better surveillance targeting and more regular exercises and simulations. It also notes that overall New Zealand’s biosecurity system has been improved though sharing knowledge and innovative practices.
“We are always looking to review how we do things, and improve our systems. This report is part of that process, and I would encourage people to read the full document.
“I’m disappointed by woefully ignorant comments from David Shearer which add nothing to the debate and risk unnecessarily damaging New Zealand’s biosecurity reputation.
“The reality is that Government spending on biosecurity is now almost double what it was in 2000, and last year saw record numbers of biosecurity staff recruited.
“Overall, New Zealand has a world-class biosecurity system. As a Government we are extremely conscious of how important it is to protect our borders. A large amount of work has gone into planning for foot and mouth disease, including Exercise Taurus in 2012 which dealt with a simulated outbreak.
“Continuing to improve the system is the top priority for me as Minister,” says Mr Guy.
Further information on Exercise Taurus is available here: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/foot-n-mouth/mpi-ex-taurus-2012-external-evalu-report.pdf