The Green Party recommended today that New Zealanders buy locally-grown flowers this Mothers’ Day to benefit our economy and environment.
“Supporting the local flower industry can help our economy blossom out of the recession, and keep our environment flowering without more pests and weeds,” said Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Kevin Hague.
“Imported flowers pose a risk to our environment and horticultural industry because of pests and weeds, but there is an obvious and simple solution – buy Kiwi-grown flowers for Mothers’ Day.
“Local flowers are also fresher and more alive. If you’re unsure whether flowers are local, ask the shop-keeper – they should be able to tell you.”
New Zealand’s biosecurity rules require that all imported cut flowers are free of pests and cannot reproduce, regenerate or grow here. There is a high-risk of imported cut flowers becoming weeds or carrying pests.
“Regular testing has shown that the rules are often broken,” said Kevin Hague.
TV3’s Target programme in February this year was able to propagate 99 of 134 (74%) imported cut roses. Similarly, the NZ Flower Growers’ propagated 80% of roses they tested.
Biosecurity NZ has reported that 16% of imported roses fail border inspection for pests.
“Our biosecurity rules are regularly breached,” said Kevin Hague, “and since inspections are not comprehensive or fool-proof, it is likely that bugs continue to get through.
“The main treatments to make imported flowers safe are to dip them in pesticides and fumigate them with nasties like Methyl bromide, so the best solution is to ask for New Zealand-grown flowers.
“In this time of recession, it is also important to help our substantial flower industry retain jobs for New Zealanders.
“This Mothers’ Day we can show our gratitude to mothers, and make a choice that helps our economy and environment.”
Biosecurity Import Health Standard - http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/ihs/155-02-04.pdf