Fruit fly discovery reveals inadequacy of biosecurity measures

The discovery of a Queensland fruit fly in Grey Lynn, Auckland, this week reinforces how flimsy New Zealand’s biosecurity measures are, the Green Party said today.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries is insisting that this find is not evidence of an outbreak. However, this is the fifth time a Queensland fruit fly has been discovered in New Zealand since May 2012,” said Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning. “If this is not an outbreak, it still begs the question how many Queensland fruit flies are in our environment that have not been found?

“This insect has the potential to devastate New Zealand’s horticultural industry, and finding one in a surveillance trap in central Auckland shows that the measures New Zealand is taking to stop them entering our ecosystem aren’t working. New Zealand producers and gardeners should not be exposed to one of horticulture’s worst threats.

“The Green Party supports Horticulture New Zealand’s call for the x-raying of all baggage entering the country, as well as a ban on fruit and vegetable imports from Australia until safe and effective biosecurity measures are in place.

“We also have to question whether cuts to frontline biosecurity staff since 2012, when the fruit fly incursions began, have had an effect on the quality of screening.”