Minister welcomes biosecurity report

  • Hon Damien O’Connor

The findings of the independent review into New Zealand’s biosecurity passenger and mail controls released earlier today are pleasing and will be valuable for future planning, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The review was commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries after the detection of a Queensland Fruit Fly in Auckland’s North Shore in February 2019 and was conducted by Australia’s newly-appointed Inspector-General of Biosecurity Rob Delane.

“The findings are pleasing and support the good work already being done as well as the future border protection we are looking towards,” Damien O’Connor said.

“It is important that New Zealanders, and the world, have confidence in our ability to protect our primary sectors’ productivity and keep our unique flora and fauna free from pests and disease.

“It is crucial for the country’s economy and our reputation as a clean, green tourist destination.

“While increased globalisation brings economic opportunities, it also carries significant biosecurity risk if we do not have adequate border protection in place.

“The report notes the challenges our border faces and has found some areas for improvement, particularly in the area of improved technology.”

MPI is considering the recommendations made by Mr Delane. Some will take time, research and investment in new technologies to future-proof our biosecurity system.

“I agree with a number of these recommendations and in fact, a number of them are improvements we are already looking towards,” Damien O’Connor said. 

“Unsurprisingly the review identified some weak points in the current system, particularly our International Mail Centre and Auckland International Airport facilities.

“These are long-standing issues we have been working on for some time. The report agreed they need to be addressed, especially in the face of growing globalisation.

“I intend to visit these facilities again with MPI’s Director-General in the near future and we are talking to the owners of these facilities about how they can be upgraded to better protect our borders.

“Overall the review found our biosecurity measures to be effective. That’s something we can all be proud of and have confidence in.”

The full report is available on the MPI website.