Govt pumps $43 million into biosecurity

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has announced strengthened biosecurity funding in a pre-Budget statement in Hamilton on Thursday. Photo: WARWICK SMITH/Stuff.

New Zealand’s biosecurity system is being strengthened as part of Budget 2022 to help protect the country’s vital primary sector and native flora and fauna, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor.

O’Connor and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are visiting the national bulk milk testing laboratory MilkTestNZ in Waikato today.

He unveiled $42.9 million to bolster the biosecurity system as part of Budget 2022 and $68m over the next year for M. bovis eradication – M. bovis affects cattle.

“New Zealand’s flora, fauna and livestock are the foundations of our primary sector, economy, rural communities and our economic security,” O’Connor says in a statement.

“The world is reopening from the pandemic. With increased travel alongside a warming climate we face challenges from pests and diseases, which requires further investments to strengthen our biosecurity system.”

He says it's vital that farmers’ and growers’ work is protected by a strong biosecurity system.

“This support is aimed at protecting biodiversity, bolstering biosecurity, improving marine system resilience, and enabling climate resilience. A strong biosecurity system helps protect the productivity of New Zealand’s most important export sector and guard our taonga species.”

He says New Zealand has a world-class biosecurity system, but it needs to ensure it can meet the challenges presented by increased cargo freight, and from pests like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

“We’ve shown with Mycoplasma bovis what we can achieve together when an incursion happens, but we want to reduce risk as much as possible to prevent the costs and effects for individual farmers and growers.

“We are chasing down the last remnants of M. bovis and that’s a credit to all involved and Budget 2022 includes $68m for this eradication programme over the next year.”

-Stuff/Stephen Ward.

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