The influx of visitors to New Zealand over the holiday period puts the spotlight on better biosecurity measures being needed to protect New Zealand from African Swine Fever, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.
“We know the Minister of Agriculture is unaware of whether any pork entering New Zealand contains African Swine Fever or not,” Mr Walker says.
“In the Primary Production Select Committee last month it was revealed of the 6500 pork imports in to New Zealand, about 600 were not declared, and none had been tested for African Swine Fever.”
“How can we protect the pork industry from African Swine Fever if we do not know if any of the pork products entering New Zealand contain African Swine Fever?”
“In Australia, of the 420 illegal pork products stopped at the border about 200 contained fragments of African Swine Fever, almost 50 per cent.”
“That’s an incredibly alarming statistic when we are faced with the same risk, more so at this time of year.”
“The Ministry of Primary Industries is also planning an operational exercise for this year if African Swine Fever was to enter New Zealand.”
“This should have been done six months ago.”
“The Government needs to increase surveillance on the spread of the disease and consider more stringent controls on pork imports.”
“The Minister needs to answer these calls and put in preventative measures to protect our pork industry.”
“This includes signage at places of entry to New Zealand, 100% interception of attempted illegal trafficking of pork product, assurance imports are meeting required standards, hunters from foreign countries being given adequate checks on equipment brought into New Zealand and migrant workers returning or entering New Zealand not bringing apparel which could be a source of infection in with them.”
“The Minister needs to act and put safety measures in place for the security of our pork industry.”