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Fruit fly find highlights border failures

The discovery of a fruit fly in Auckland is further proof of New Zealand’s inadequate border protection, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“This latest find follows two similar incursions last year, the first of which prompted a massive surveillance programme and the establishment of a controlled area at a taxpayer cost of $1.6 million.

“Given MPI failed to establish how those flies entered the country, it can’t be assumed that today’s case is ‘just’ another one-off. That’s a huge worry for a $6 billion industry.

“The Government has placed biosecurity systems under extreme pressure through the constant restructuring of the former Ministry of Agriculture and now the Ministry of Primary Industries, while capability and wisdom has been lost along with experienced staff.

“Until we make identifying the gaps in the system a priority it is almost certain border breaches by these pests will continue.

“The fruit fly is to horticulture what foot and mouth is to agriculture.  Our economy can afford neither,” Damien O’Connor said.