Govt Commits $6.4m For Exotic Mosquito Eradication

  • John Luxton

Biosecurity Minister John Luxton today announced that the Government has earmarked up to $6.4 million for the next stage of the eradication programme of the southern saltmarsh mosquito in Napier.

"The allocation of this funding shows the seriousness with which the Government views this incursion. Phase One was containment and the initial results are very encouraging. Phase Two is eradication. Without intervention, this mosquito could pose a serious threat to Hawke's Bay's economy and lifestyle."

Eradication of the exotic mosquito in Napier depends on extending the programme to include a second control product, s-methoprene. S-methoprene is used against mosquitoes throughout the world. It has undergone a full health impact assessment in New Zealand.

The eradication programme will last 13 months followed by a 24 month surveillance programme to confirm success. In addition a national surveillance programme will detect if the mosquito has spread further.

"Eradication will prevent diseases, such as Ross River Virus, being introduced into New Zealand. It will also stop the vicious biting from this mosquito, avoid the need for ongoing control measures and prevent the mosquito from becoming established in other parts of the country."

The programme to date has been funded by a number of agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Health Funding Authority, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with the Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay local authorities providing crucial support and advice to Healthcare Hawke's Bay who are running the operation.

"New Zealand must remain vigilant to the threat of exotic mosquitoes. We are fortunate in having been able to contain the mosquito to date, but now we need to stamp it out. The Government is committed to protecting our biosecurity status, it is an important basis for our economic well-being," Mr Luxton concluded.