Budget Biosecurity Announcements

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Media release by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ)

Budget biosecurity announcements a good response to changing risks

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed the 2015 budget announcements in support of better biosecurity outcomes.

“Short of a major volcanic eruption in Auckland there is very little that trumps the impact that a biosecurity incursion could have on the New Zealand economy. A bad biosecurity incursion would shut down exports and derail much of our country’s productive capability.” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey

“Unlike a volcanic eruption, there are things we can do as a country to lessen the risk of a biosecurity incursion. DCANZ thanks the Government for its commitment to responding to the changes which are altering New Zealand’s biosecurity risk profile.”

DCANZ considers that the 3.5% year-on-year growth in passenger numbers would have meant an inevitable drop in biosecurity risk protection levels in the absence of increased resourcing for border clearance. DCANZ also supports the additional funding to ensure Import Health Standards continue to be appropriate in terms of the changing nature of biosecurity risks and related scientific knowledge.

The budget announcements have included a modest levy for travellers. DCANZ is encouraging the public to see this levy within the bigger picture of biosecurity for New Zealand. A 2014 NZIER report found that a medium sized foot and mouth disease incursion would have an economic cost of around $13 billion for the New Zealand economy. That equates to around $2800 per capita.

Biosecurity is not just a concern for primary industries; the introduction of didymo ‘rock snot’ has permanently altered many waterways and affected recreation activities.

“As a country we benefit enormously from both trade and travel. But one lapse in biosecurity on any one day could result in an incursion that severely impacts the livelihoods of thousands or irreversibly changes our natural landscape.”

DCANZ has also welcomed the Government initiative to engage in consultation on a Biosecurity 2025 project.

“While these budget changes address some immediate areas of stretch, it’s also important to be standing back and looking at the systems more strategically” Says Bailey DCANZ hopes the Biosecurity 2025 project will form a strong basis for future-proofing New Zealand biosecurity in a way that delivers improved outcomes for all stakeholders.