Minister for Biosecurity Hon Damien O’Connor says the second find of an unwanted fruit fly is disappointing and the Government is committed to ensuring it does not establish here.
The facialis fruit fly was caught in a surveillance trap in Otara and it is a different species to the Queensland fruit fly and unrelated to a separate biosecurity incident in Devonport.
“Getting rid of the fruit fly is New Zealand’s most well-oiled biosecurity response,” the Minister says.
“We’ve been here several times before and each time we’ve successfully got rid of this horticultural pest.”
There will be cross agency support for Biosecurity NZ to ensure it can call on all the resources it needs given the fruit fly responses alongside Mycoplasma bovis.
Minister O’Connor says as part of the multi-layered biosecurity system, the 7500 traps that lure the fruit fly for early detection during the summer risk season have done their job.
“While Biosecurity New Zealand’s work is independently audited each year, it is important we learn and evolve our biosecurity system and I strongly support its extra check of air passenger and cruise pathways - this will happen in the next few weeks.
“Two fruit flies is not an incursion as we saw in 2014 when the fruit fly was found twice in Whangarei, but we can’t be too careful and as the response ramps up I urge the local community to be vigilant.”
He says this pest could significantly harm New Zealand’s $5.5 billion horticulture sector, and it is why the Government is committed to do what it takes to keep it from establishing here.
“As I saw first-hand earlier this week in Devonport, the Queensland Fruit Fly response has been well-coordinated and communicated, as noted by horticulture industry groups, and this response will not be affected by the new find.
“We acknowledge this may be disruptive to the local community and businesses and your cooperation is appreciated and any loss caused by the response will be compensated.”
Ever more visitors, a changing climate and more trade all contribute to biosecurity risk and this is the reason New Zealand is strengthening the system, including an extra $10 million at the Budget to bolster its systems offshore, and why it is overhauling its 25-year-old Biosecurity Act to make it fit for the future, he adds.