Brook Sabin pulls no punches laying the blame for the fruit fly outbreak at National’s feet:
Opinion: National to blame for fruit fly outbreak
… This is the fifth time flies have got across the border under National. … It is no coincidence this has coincided with major cuts and changes to border controls. … Now the $6 billion fruit and vegetable industry is at risk and the Government is squarely to blame.
Since National’s 2008 victory, the Government’s quietly stripped back the biosecurity system.
1. In October 2011, the Government introduced a “direct exit path”. That means millions of Australian and New Zealand passengers deemed to be low risk, walk straight out without any x-raying of their baggage.
2. In 2012, 3 News obtained documents under the Official Information Act revealing frontline biosecurity staff numbers had been cut from 295 to 270 since National came to office. …
4. 3 News also requested audits, to see if the new direct exit system was passing its own internal tests. Some were not, meaning too many risk items were getting through.
5.Our investigation also uncovered a huge decrease in the number of furniture removal containers being inspected as they enter New Zealand.
If a fruit fly population has spread beyond where it was found in Auckland’s Grey Lynn, it could be game over for our fruit and vegetable exports.
This is typical short term stupid National thinking. Save a million or two (?) with cuts, risk a $6 Billion industry. Also typical National is to refuse to accept responsibility – nothing to do with us says Key:
Prime Minister John Key has dismissed criticism of New Zealand’s biosecurity standards, saying the Queensland fruit fly was simply a bigger threat as the population was spreading … as the fruit fly population spread in Australia it inevitably became a bigger risk in New Zealand.
If the risk was increasing due to spread in Australia then the correct response was to increase our border security, not decrease it. You’d think a smart guy like Key could work that out.