We need a bigger budget
Bugs in cars cause a stink
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...”