Labour has slammed New Zealand’s border security saying the arrival of a Queensland fruit fly could have been prevented by tighter airport controls.
A male Queensland fruit fly was caught in a trap in Auckland’s Mt Roskell last week, the only one to have been found so far.
Labour’s agricultural spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the Government has shown a lax attitude towards bio-security nationwide.
“Every airport has a story where resources have been cut, staff have been compromised, and this is just the tip of the iceberg,” O’Connor told Farming Show host Jamie Mackay.
“We can’t afford to have a major incursion of Queensland fruit fly, of foot and mouth, or anything else that might decimate our economy. So it’s better to spend a few million up front and have very good border security, than hundreds of millions dollars trying to mop up some major incursion with billions of dollars of costs. It’s a no-brainer.”
O’Connor pointed to the possible introduction of smart-gate technology at customs as a sign the issue isn’t being addressed.
“Now, so you can save eight minutes coming through border security and customs, they’ve got the so-called ‘Smart Gate’ thing from Australia, where people come in with no check whatsoever, some computer profiling of your wrist and no checks. I think that’s disastrous. A few minutes saving at the border is neither here nor there.”
A large-scale field effort to eradicate any fruit flies within the Avondale area of Auckland will continue for the next ten days.