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The New Zealand fruit industry could be decimated after confirmation from the Government that there has been a serious biosecurity breach involving the devastating Queensland fruit fly, says Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor.
“This fly is considered to be Australia's most serious insect threat to fruit and vegetable crops.
“The fact it has made its way to our shores is evidence of an absolute failure of our biosecurity system and of this Government to protect our horticulture industry.
“The Minister’s claim that the capture of a fly in Mt Roskill illustrates how well our biosecurity system is working is absolute nonsense. They should be stopping these pests at the border not patting themselves on the back for finding it when its already here.
“National has slashed our frontline biosecurity staff and services. One casualty of the cuts has been the loss of the sniffer dog at Wellington airport since October. This Government is running our biosecurity system into the ground.
“The horticulture industry and farmers have been warning the Government that there are increasing risks because of the cuts at Biosecurity New Zealand. National is not listening.
“Now that the Minister has confirmed the incursion, we expect him to inform the fruit industry about what steps Biosecurity New Zealand will take to prevent any spread of the fly.
“This is a very serious situation for New Zealand and the National Government must take full responsibility,” said Damien O’Connor.