Bio se­cu­rity fail­ures se­ri­ous is­sue

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By STEW WADEY

Ihave made it no se­cret that New Zealand Bio Se­cu­rity is a very se­ri­ous is­sue to me. be­lieve we must pro­tect our pri­mary food pro­duc­ing farm­ers from un­de­sir­able or­gan­isms get­ting into New Zealand.

I will watch with great in­ter­est, Mar­tyn Dunne CNZM as the new di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries.

His CV in­di­cates a com­pletely new di­men­sion to the lead­er­ship of the min­istry that in­cludes ex­pe­ri­ence as New Zealand’s high com­mis­sioner in Can­berra, the im­me­di­ate past comptroller of Cus­toms and New Zealand Cus­toms Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive, and be­fore that, a ma­jor-gen­eral in the New Zealand Army.

But dare I say it, another biose­cu­rity in­cur­sion – thei­le­ria in cat­tle.

Some North Is­land cows did suf­fer anaemia as the re­sult of in­fec­tion with a strain of the par­a­site thei­le­ria ori­en­talis, called Ikeda. There were stock fa­tal­i­ties. I was aware that on Septem­ber 11, the min­istry knew of 127 farms af­fected with thei­le­ria; 102 of th­ese had tested pos­i­tive for the Ikeda strain, another 19 farms were be­ing tested and six farms were strongly sus­pected of be­ing in­fected based on clin­i­cal signs – most of th­ese are north of Ti­rau.

The is­sue first pre­sented it­self in North­land but spring cases are be­ing found fur­ther south.

Thei­le­ria ori­en­talis is a par­a­site trans­mit­ted by ticks when they feed on the an­i­mal’s blood. The disease is not spread by di­rect an­i­mal-to-an­i­mal con­tact in the ab­sence of ticks.

There are no hu­man health or food safety risks as­so­ci­ated with thei­le­ria.

I un­der­stand the ori­gin of this un­de­sir­able par­a­site prob­lem can be traced back to Kenya and has highly likely come into New Zealand from Aus­tralia.

Yep, that is another is­sue as this par­a­site would have had to be hosted by a live an­i­mal that must have en­tered through our New Zealand bor­der con­trols.

But are we farm­ers our own worst enemy in se­ri­ous biose­cu­rity in­cur­sions?

For­mer Fed­er­ated Farm­ers board mem­ber John Hart­nell and present bee in­dus­try chair­man, had pre­sented on how PSA came into New Zealand, which was vin­di­cated much later by a min­istry in­quiry.

He also said the bee in­dus­try had been let down by fail­ures in biose­cu­rity, the var­roa mite be­ing ex­hibit A.

When try­ing to work out how the var­roa mite en­tered New Zealand, it is con­sid­ered that two mite-in­fected queens had passed through bor­der con­trol in a match­box in a per­son’s trouser pocket.

How far away are we from be­ing in­flicted with bovine spongi­form en­cephalopa­thy , com­monly known as mad cow disease, a fatal neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive disease or footand-mouth disease (aph­thae epi­zoot­i­cae), an in­fec­tious and some­times fatal vi­ral disease that af­fects cloven-hoofed an­i­mals.

Biose­cu­rity con­cerns can be zoonotic, mean­ing they are can be trans­mit­ted to man, a po­ten­tially huge im­ped­i­ment to pro­duc­tiv­ity for our ex­portable pri­mary agri­cul­tural foods, a con­cern we are aware of for that much-needed in­come for New Zealand.

On a more close to home and very rel­e­vant lo­cal dis­trict topic, is my sup­port to pro­mote ru­ral in­dus­try ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties for our young peo­ple.

I very much look for­ward to par­tic­i­pat­ing in Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate School’s ca­reers day on Novem­ber 15.

I will present to them some re­al­ity of a fast-grow­ing world pop­u­la­tion that will re­quire many chal­lenges to be met to sat­isfy a 9.5 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion by 2050.

Most of th­ese stu­dents will be in their late 40s by then.

I will demon­strate that iPods, smart­phones will not nour­ish them but ac­knowl­edge in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy will be a big part in sup­port of the food pro­duc­tion process, that with­out ques­tion will need var­i­ous skill sets to achieve.

Our older col­lege stu­dents also need the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop skills to add value to New Zealand.

Youth Works in Mata­mata is work­ing with em­ploy­ers and young peo­ple in the town to en­sure young peo­ple have a plan and di­rec­tion for their fu­ture that links to the work­force re­quire­ments of lo­cal ur­ban and ru­ral busi­nesses.

Get­ting the right peo­ple is es­sen­tial and re­cruit­ing and de­vel­op­ing young peo­ple is a cost-ef­fec­tive way in the long term for any busi­ness to build a dy­namic and pro­duc­tive work­force.

If you are able to of­fer en­try-level po­si­tions and will­ing to train and work with young peo­ple to build mean­ing­ful ca­reers, we want to hear from you.

Con­tact Kym Bolton-Hamp­ton, Mata­mata Youth Works at hamp­ton­fam­ily@xnet.co.nz

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