Movement controls critical to stop myrtle rust spreading

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must take every precaution possible to stop the spread of myrtle rust disease, including stronger movement controls, after news of it being detected in a nursery in Taranaki, the Green Party said today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must take every precaution possible to stop the spread of myrtle rust disease, including stronger movement controls, after news of it being detected in a nursery in Taranaki, the Green Party said today.

The disease, which can seriously damage native and introduced plants, including pohutukawa, manuka, and feijoa, was detected at a nursery in Northland earlier this month – the first the time it’s been found in mainland New Zealand.

“The Green Party is calling on MPI to put its full resources into confirming the cause of the myrtle rust incursion and ensuring its containment,” said Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Until it’s proven that this is a natural windblown incursion, all precautions must be taken.

“Resources need to be committed for a greater testing and containment area, with movement control of plant material and beehive equipment, of at least 1km radius from the detection sites.

“MPI also needs to be fully transparent with local communities and industries to ensure they are continually updated as more information comes to light and what precautions they can be taking to prevent the spread of the disease.

“A wider outbreak could be seriously damaging to our precious biodiversity and local economies, so the Government has to do everything it can to stop this incursion in its tracks,” said Mr Browning. 

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