Funding boost to strengthen biosecurity

A boost of $18.4 million of operating funding over four years from Budget 2017 will help further strengthen the biosecurity system and protect our borders, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says. “Biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister because the primary sector is the backbone of our economy. Unwanted pests and diseases have the potential to cause major damage to our producers,” Mr Guy says. “There are increasing demands on our biosecurity system because a growing economy means more people are travelling here and trade volumes are increasing. “These new initiatives will help us prepare for this challenge and implement the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement, which was publicly released last year and sets out a long-term vision for protecting New Zealand. “Part of the new funding will be used to manage biosecurity risk off-shore so fewer pests and diseases make it to New Zealand. Import Health Standards (IHS) will be reviewed to ensure the rules around importing goods are strong and up to date,” Mr Guy says. “A major focus will also go on lifting public awareness and participation because biosecurity is the responsibility of all New Zealanders. This will involve targeted programmes to drive awareness and behaviour changes, and to meet our goal of having 90 per cent of relevant businesses actively managing pest and disease risks. “The funding will also be used to accelerate the development and uptake of new tools to detect and eradicate pests, including sonar scanning of vessel hulls and automatic acoustic traps for use in pest surveillance and eradication. “This follows steps in recent years which has seen MPI employ 50 new biosecurity staff and 20 extra biosecurity detector dog teams, and introduce new x-ray scanning machines, including mobile units that can be moved around the country.”

Science Media Centre