Biosecurity response needs Govt’s full resources

The Government must immediately put the full resources of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) towards finding the cause of the myrtle rust incursion and preventing a wider outbreak, the Green Party said today.

The Government must immediately put the full resources of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) towards finding the cause of the myrtle rust incursion and preventing a wider outbreak, the Green Party said today.

Myrtle rust, a fungal disease which can seriously damage native and introduced plants in the myrtle family, including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, and feijoa, has been detected at a nursery in Northland – the first the time it’s been found in mainland New Zealand.

“The Green Party is very concerned to learn of the myrtle rust incursion. This is a massive biosecurity risk, which threatens some of our most iconic trees and local food-producing industries,” said Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The number one priority for MPI and DOC needs to be investigating how the myrtle rust fungus has reached our shores and to contain it.

“MPI also needs to be fully transparent with honey producers and food growers about the process and ensure they are continually updated as more information comes to light.

“We all hope that this biosecurity incursion is isolated to this one nursery in Kerikeri, and that it isn’t a widespread natural incursion.

“A wider outbreak could be seriously damaging to our precious biodiversity and local economies, so the Government has to do everything they can to prevent that from happening,” said Mr Browning. 

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