Horticulture New Zealand is disappointed to hear from the media that taxpayers will have to fork out at least $1.5 million to pay for the clean up after the Queensland Fruit Fly find in Auckland in May.
"That's a lot of money to spend on one fly.
"And we had to spend it, considering what we would have lost in export trade if there had been more flies found," HortNZ president Andrew Fenton says.
The risk to the $4 billion New Zealand horticulture industry from the Queensland Fruit Fly is two-fold:
first is the destruction caused by the pest and the on-going cost of attempting to control it, and
second is the cost of international markets closing to our products, because those trading partners don't want to get the Queensland pest either.
HortNZ continues to call on the Government to abandon its 'Direct Exit' policy at airports and re-introduce 100% x-ray at the border.
The Direct Exit policy involves using 'profiling' to tell if passengers are likely to be carrying plant material, rather than using an x-ray machine to find it. The Queensland Fruit Fly and other pests come into the country on plant material - usually either in passenger bags or in imported containers.
Direct Exit aims to speed up a traveller's trip by 15 minutes.
"We have heard too much about creating a trans-Tasman 'domestic-like travel experience' and reducing passenger processing times.
"Spending $1.5 million like this every time we find one of these flies could become a very bad habit. We don't want to have to go through this again in six months' time.
"This Government's determination to cut costs has now cost all of us big money, and risked billions of dollars in national earnings," Andrew says.
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