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Government's Last Chance To Save Biosecurity

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Damien O'Connor
Damien O'Connor

Today is the Government's last chance to admit its plan to axe 60 Biosecurity NZ staff was a bad call and the decision should be reversed, Labour Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O'Connor says.

"I understand final decisions around the restructuring of staff positions are set to be announced tomorrow. "It's therefore not to late for the Government to admit it made the wrong decision and put the job cuts plan to bed once and for all," Damien O'Connor says.

"The proposed staff cuts come in the wake of a $2 million cut to the biosecurity budget and at a time when John Key's push for streamlining of travel from Australia could result in huge pressure on our border control systems. "This could introduce increased dangers from fruit fly, especially at new airports engaging in transtasman travel such as Rotorua.

"Those losing their jobs are all experienced and skilled people who work hard on a thin green line at the border to protect our primary industries and economy.

"This is a time when we should be increasing our surveillance and systems, not undertaking a short-term cost cutting exercise that puts our environment and ecosystems at greater risk," Damien O'Connor says.

"The agriculture and horticulture industries are worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to New Zealand and ensuring they are protected should be a priority.

"If any damage were to occur to our primary production industries through an introduced pest or disease this would compound the effects of the recession and make it even more difficult for New Zealand's economy to recover," Damien O'Connor said.

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