We need a big­ger bud­get

Bugs in cars cause a stink

NZ Grower - - Contents - By Sue Grant-Mackie

The alarm­ing in­crease in the num­bers of brown mar­morated stink bugs ar­riv­ing at the Port of Auck­land with Ja­pa­nese ship­ments of used cars has il­lu­mi­nated a huge dilemma.

That is, New Zealand is a coun­try that de­pends on trade and as many wise peo­ple have said in the past, as trade and tourism in­crease so does the risk of un­wanted pests get­ting into the coun­try. And cli­mate change – with New Zealand ex­pe­ri­enc­ing record sum­mer tem­per­a­tures this year – is only hold­ing out the wel­come sign to heat lov­ing stink bugs.

All of which must be mak­ing MPI’s task an in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult one, and star­ing the ugly bugs in the face last month biose­cu­rity staff must have been think­ing: “We’re gonna need a big­ger bud­get”.

Min­is­ter O’Con­nor agrees, and told this mag­a­zine: “I am push­ing my col­leagues for more money to fund our biose­cu­rity safety net prop­erly, un­like the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment whose poli­cies led us to where we are to­day – fight­ing re­sponses on sev­eral fronts.

“We can­not af­ford to let it in and we will shut down the path­ways wher­ever we find them.

“Biose­cu­rity is a chal­lenge for us all – it re­quires vig­i­lance from ev­ery­one and on-farm best prac­tice.” Min­is­ter O’Con­nor states that New Zealand is al­ready do­ing more than any other coun­try to keep the bug out. It is al­ready caus­ing havoc in the United States and Italy as it spans the globe from its home in Asia.

In Fe­bru­ary this year the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries turned away a to­tal of four Ja­pa­nese bulk car­ri­ers from the Port of Auck­land. Used cars and crew were not the only ones on board – brown mar­morated stink bugs and their yel­low cousins were thriv­ing in the heat of the south­ern hemi­sphere.

And New Zealand’s car in­dus­try kicked up a stink about job losses and in­creases in used car prices. But the

“Keep­ing the stink bug out is an ab­so­lute pri­or­ity for me and those peo­ple who are work­ing hard on the biose­cu­rity front­line...”

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