New Zealand Releases New Anti-Pest Biosecurity Plan

20 December 2002

Following two years of consultation and study, New Zealand’s Biosecurity Council released its draft Biosecurity Strategy, which will now receive public comments and go through a final round of consultations to be closed on 28 February 2003. The government plans to finalise the Strategy by June 2003. The director of the MAF Biosecurity Authority, Barry O’Neill stressed the urgency of addressing potential threats from diseases and pests introduced through sources such as travel and trade. "The serious animal diseases that have swept through other countries have so far been kept out of New Zealand. This is largely due to our geographical isolation and our well developed biosecurity systems for helping to ensure people and freight entering our country are not carrying exotic pests or diseases." The draft Strategy acknowledges the need for a precautionary approach, stating, "Wherever there is uncertainty, with a risk of damaging impacts, conservative decisions based on mainstream scientific views should be made. A precautionary approach also needs to recognize most negative decisions also carry risks and consequences." While The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, New Zealand’s largest national conservation organisation, welcomed the release of the draft, critics charged that the plan was too simple in its approach to protecting New Zealand’s increasingly threatened biological systems.

"New Zealand Drafts Biosecurity Plan Against Pests," ENS, 16 December 2002.

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