National’s fruit flies

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, February 24th, 2015 - 73 comments
Categories: accountability, farming, food, national - Tags: , ,

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.

73 comments on “National’s fruit flies”

  1. tc 1

    Gos widdle brooky must be unhappy with team key as they distance themselves from his dad, attempting some sabin brand building before dad destroys it perhaps.

    This story should have been written pre election using PSA, more self interest than anything IMO as its unlikely to come from smellstrong and the senior shills.

    • r0b 1.1

      Let’s not attack Sabin the younger on account of the elder please.

      As to the story pre election – agreed!

      • Skinny 1.1.1

        Oh come on Rob having had dealings with tricky Brook Sabin I am convinced he has been there for National when it counted. He does give the impression of going after
        Key for the obvious reason. I value TC’s integrity rather than a worm that turned.

        • Old Mickey 1.1.1.1

          Oh come on Skinny – thats harsh and unfair on Brook. Evidence your claims he has been there for National when it counted ? The Pam Corkery standup doesnt count – actually did all NZ a favour. What about Brook taking Judith Collins to task in the Beehive standup ?

          • Skinny 1.1.1.1.1

            And which ambitious MP stood to gain the Justice portfolio (until he self destructed) if Collins got the chop? The same one who was currying favour with Joyce who had been in a battle for the leadership when Key heads to the IMF.

        • Ergo Robertina 1.1.1.2

          Neither you nor TC have any integrity to criticise Brook Sabin for writing a cogent piece stringing together a few relevant stories.
          Smacks of people for whom politics is a game, always.
          Sabin seemed to get his start on 3 News with OIA generated stories, such as these, before being part of the political reporting team.
          And now he’s reminding people of those stories, as any journalist with a bit of common sense and ego would.

    • Saarbo 1.2

      As an importer I have been told by MPI that there is now one Biosecurirty auditor to cover both BOP and Waikato…the area that PSA was introduced, there used to be a dedicated Auditor in each region. They do a bloody good job but too thin on the ground to cover the full number of import containers effectively, coming into the country.

      Sabin is on the mark picking this up as a scandalous story.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The Queensland fruit fly is out of control in Australia, where authorities have utterly failed to control it. The nature of Australia’s disaster means NZ should be increasing biosecurity for travellers from Australia, not reducing it.

  3. felix 3

    “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”

    Yeah it’s just one of those things, like market forces or being invited to a war. It’s not like you can DO anything about it.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Just keep on keeping on, and if something bad happens, shrug your shoulders.

      Strong leadership, steering New Zealand towards a Brighter Future. New Zealand is on the cusp of something.

    • Tracey 3.2

      but think of the money being made by all those business people not being held up at the border thus creating jobs! Labour is SO ungrateful

      🙄

  4. dv 4

    I caught McCully this morning saying more should be done/spent on conflict prevention by the UN

    I thought he could have been talking about Fruit Fly, Climate Change……

  5. vto 5

    Border security failure can line up behind other right wing neo-liberal failures

    leaky homes
    finance companies
    Pike River manslaughters
    housing crisis
    low wages
    obscene wealth concentration
    eqc and insurance in Christchurch

    feel free to add …

    …….

    do the fruit and vege growers not vote National or something? Fancy slicing border security to death. Plain idiocy.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Death to the gnats!

  7. adam 7

    Did Key in effect, just acknowledge climate change today – as part of his defence?

  8. ianmac 8

    Do X-rays kill fruit flies or just maybe detect fruit? Someone must know.

    • dv 8.1

      Found this
      http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/irradiation_food/

      1986 Fruit and vegetables 1.0 kGy Insect control, increase shelf life

      That was in a table half way down the article.

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Irradiation not quite the same as X-rays dv. Generally irradiation is used on specific foods rather than luggage.
        Do X-rays kill fruit flies? Dunno.

        • adam 8.1.1.1

          The x-rays are to find fruit or anything suspicious. It is a tool to help, so they don’t have to open every bag. If the x-ray shows something – they then open the bag.

          • ianmac 8.1.1.1.1

            Fruit flies are about 4mm long so they unlikely to be detected. Does the xray really only seek undeclared fruit adam?

            • adam 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeap – not the flies. At 4 mm it would look like dust

            • Visubversaviper 8.1.1.1.1.2

              X Rays pick up fruit shaped objects. I was asked to unpack my bag in 1998 when returning from Japan as the Xray had shown a round object about orange/apple sized. It was a doll I had been given as a gift. Customs did the check and I was on my way.

            • RJL 8.1.1.1.1.3

              Yes, the x-rays are used to discover fruit shaped objects in luggage that has a different density to the expected contents (i.e. underpants).

              Obviously, other sorts of contraband that can be differentiated by shape/density is detected too. And false positives are possible too.

        • freedom 8.1.1.2

          Seems irradiation doesn’t kill them. It prevents them from maturing or sterilizes them Irradiation at levels that kill the insect apparently damages the food being irradiated.

          Which does suggest that if all visitor’s luggage was put through x-ray scanning then at least the possibility of breeding populations being established are diminished. We used to do that in New Zealand. So maybe the open border walk on through no problems cobber attitude adopted by National in 2012 was not such a smart move after all. We are relying on another country to screen the luggage coming into NZ. As we now have a suspected breeding population of fruit flies in New Zealand, we must suspect the screening in Australia is not being done thoroughly enough.

          • stever 8.1.1.2.1

            And in fact as long as you’re “european looking” you might get waved through the no x-ray lane even if not on an NZ or Aus passport (as though those passports guarantee anything…what was the idea there???)

            • tc 8.1.1.2.1.1

              I’ve come through with golf clubs and shoes when in the past they were always inspected and often the shoes sprayed and handed back. Happened in 2013, 2012 and 2011.

              A mate came back from the tropics and sailed through also with no inspection which amazed me as he had a bag full of new surfboards that could’ve had anything encrusted in the wax.

  9. “If” this Fruit Fly population gets out of control, National are going to have many unhappy voters, only then will Key and his cohorts take any notice.

    NZ should place a stop on Fruit from Oz until they can guarantee that fruit is free of the Fruit Fly.
    This has potential for disaster.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Fruit imported commercially already has robust and effective controls in place to stop the spread of pests.

      The problem is people bringing in undeclared fruit and vegetables in their luggage on commercial airlines.

      • KJT 9.1.1

        It is well known that border security against pests has been reduced while the money is spent on looking for non-existent terrorists.

        You can see for yourself at any port or airport.

        3 people at the domestic airport to take away pocketknives, and arrest people for bomb jokes, while there is one person in the province on bio-security, while thousands of containers go ashore without even steam cleaning the outside..

  10. Colonial Rawshark 10

    IMO Sabin and the news media taking a tough public line on this reflects the powerful slice of rural civil society that the National Government has irritated with its ongoing incompetence.

    Labour usually gets less traction in the media because it typically cannot bring powerful segments of civil society to apply similar pressure to help make its points.

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Peter Goodfellow confirmed that the National Party is funded from overseas.

    That being so, they cannot be trusted to maintain bio or any other kind of security.

  12. Lanthanide 12

    Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

  13. Old Mickey 13

    An inquiry into the PSA outbreak found MPI negligant in allowing PSA to pass through the boarder. If MPI owed a duty of care to teh growers etc, then the Taxpayer will no doubt have to stump up as a result of the litigation action. Another likely action should this fruit fly issue get worse. There must be an internal issue at MPI – they get plenty of funding, yet mishandled PSA, mishandled the Fonterera infant formula issue. They seem to be doing a good job at the moment with the fruit fly, but sesne the wheels will fall off shortly.

  14. Clemgeopin 14

    This shows National’s utterly callous and criminal negligence of our Nation’s Bio-security. The inefficient and useless present minister in charge, Nathan Guy should be a goner for this. This is a very serious issue. He has to have been on top of his portfolio and done much more than he has done about our Bio-security. As he has been an utter failure on this and other issues, he should be sacked or resign immediately.

    Watch this to see what I mean:

  15. greywarshark 15

    Well we all know UNACT doesn’t fly. Their lack of interest in combatting fruit flies is just part of their persistent malaise.

  16. Max 16

    You people just like to blame john key the fly would got in anyway what’s the big
    Deal john keyb is a winner we wone the election get over it nothing to see here
    Go get some fly spray pack winngers

  17. Michael 17

    Is Brook Sabin related to Mike Sabin? I think we should be told.

    • Father and son. I’d like to think that Brook is a completely professional reporter who never broadcast beatups fed to him by his Dad, but others might not be so trusting.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1.1

        But he is seen as ‘national friendly’ and does deliver national party hits on labour.

        But that goes with the job, and has happened for ever. I cant see it being done at his fathers beckoning

        Audrey Young from the Herald has a brother as an MP and her father was previously a national MP as well.

  18. Sable 18

    I suspect National knows once the TPPA is signed our agricultural and horticultural industry will turn to shit. Our clean green image will be forever tarnished as cowboy’s roll in sowing Frankenfood GM crops, fracking and worse. No doubt this is why bio security is being played down. A few fruit flies will be the least of our worries.

  19. Any fruit and vege grower in Northland who votes for National/ACT in the upcoming by election deserves all the fruit fly infestation that is coming courtesy of the deregulation monkeys. If not this time, then soon.

    Same goes for Nelson. Same goes for Central Otago.

  20. Max 20

    The hortcutural industry isn’t that big we can afford to loose it but can’t afford to loose john key nobody else can win elections like john new Zealand would fall apart without. John key

    • McFlock 20.1

      lol whatever, “max”.
      Dunedin. Farmers. transport infrastructure. Manufacturers. Chch. Seems there are a lot of things we can “do without” under john key. We’d be better off without john jey.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1.1

        The Caliph is first in line: Key’s crimes against Sunnis are far greater than his crimes against New Zealanders.

        Do we have an extradition treaty with ISIL yet?

      • max 20.1.2

        the government is delivering for new zealand record new homes record new jobs the best export figures in generations ,new education systems to meet the demands of the 21 st century life in new zealand has never been better john key is delivering for new zealand

        • McFlock 20.1.2.1

          Bullshit.

          never been better? Never been better for his rich law-breaking mates, more like.

          The old education system was better and more responsive to the needs of children than national standards or charter schools. If either NS or CS were as good as you fuckers reckon, national standards would apply to charter schools. So parents could see how good charter schools were, using a not-at-all-fuck-useless national standards benchmark.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1.2.1.1

            Up is down. Reality is what we say it is. Unless someone holds us to account.

            Put John Key in a box and send him to the Caliph – not as a gesture of submission, merely an acknowledgement that birds of a feather belong together.

            Notional Standards, Sharia law, what’s the difference when it comes to the crunch?

        • RedBaronCV 20.1.2.2

          Everything, judging by your post Max, but basic literacy, some punctuation skills and basic typing skills. You’d better call up John Key.

    • sabine 20.2

      oh…..we have another Parody Troll?

      how much do you think they make? paid by the post? the hour? or the laughs?

      lol

  21. The hortcutural industry isn’t that big we can afford to loose it but can’t afford to loose john key nobody else can win elections like john new Zealand would fall apart without. John key

    Well, that one didn’t take long to fail the Turing test.

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