Minister attacks horticulture 'smears'
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 12:50p.m.
The horticulture industry has come under a scathing attack by Primary Industries Minister David Carter, who has accused them of having an axe to grind over biosecurity.
In a speech to Horticulture New Zealand today, Mr Carter defended the country's biosecurity system following the incursion of the deadly kiwifruit disease PSA last year, and the discovery of a Queensland fruit fly in Auckland in May.
Mr Carter said the Government takes biosecurity very seriously, accusing Horticulture NZ's board of filling its magazines' pages with "every negative angle possible, and affording little response in reply".
He said he had recently met with the organisation's head, Andrew Fenton, and its board to discuss the industry's concerns, and Mr Fenton had since praised the work of frontline staff.
However, the magazines then published stories to "run (the system) into the ground".
"If your board continues what is now an ill-informed crusade, it runs the risk of lowering the credibility of Horticulture New Zealand to government and government departments," he said.
Mr Carter defended biosecurity measures, saying about $80 billion of imports and exports, and more than 10 million travellers, crossed the country's borders each year.
"Despite having some of the most robust systems in place, and no matter how much we spend, or how many precautions we take, things can and do get through."
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26/07/2012 7:50:15 a.m.
Bharat Jivan wrote:
Hello... Does the Minister think that Primary industry particpants are blind ? Even passengers travelling through NZ customs are noticing the lack of personal and inspections. It's never been so easy when you come into N.Z. Little wonder that we are having incursions of pests and diseases. I think we need to employ those Aussi Border Security staff we see on T.V.
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