Minister must show leadership on border security

NEW ZEALAND - National’s Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern, says it’s time Jim Anderton took control of Biosecurity NZ to ensure it has the ability to uphold import health standards before allowing the importation of chilled pig meat into New Zealand.
calendar icon 9 August 2007
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“The Biosecurity Minister knows that his department does not have the expertise to ensure import health standards are robust. When one of New Zealand’s eminent animal scientists, Professor Roger Morris, opposes a change to the import health standards for pig meat, then the Minister and Biosecurity NZ must listen.," said Mr Ardern.

He said that Professor Morris’ expertise was such that he has been called in by the United Kingdom to lead the fight against Foot and Mouth Disease. "When he says there is a danger, we should all be concerned at any assurance from BNZ that the risks are extremely low," he added.

Mr Adern says that all the standards operated in the world are only effective if they are rigorously upheld. Reports from the Auditor General have told us that sadly, this is not the case in New Zealand.

He says that currently Minister Anderton cannot give that assurance by allowing chilled pork into New Zealand. Products may bring Porcine Reproductive Respiratory Syndrome (PPRS) into the country.

“This is a very serious pig disease which has spread throughout the world. New Zealand is only one of the few countries where that is an exception. Mr Anderton is well aware that there is no way biosecurity can enforce the regulations, and that it is highly likely there will be non-compliance," said Mr Ardern

He beleived that if the proposed importation of chilled pig meat is allowed to go ahead Mr Anderton would be dubbed ‘Minister who opens up the borders to disease’.

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