News and Views

Please do something – because doing nothing isn’t working

nectarine stock image

It may be time for the Government to regulate airlines to broadcast biosecurity videos for all incoming passengers, says Federated Farmers.

Feds biosecurity spokesperson Karen Williams says the recent story of an Australian visitor getting angry at having to pay a fine for bringing undeclared fruit into the country highlights how vulnerable the nation’s eco system is, but also why it was important the Australian was fined.

The Australian was angry she was fined $400 for bringing in three forgotten nectarines, a fruit that presents a risk of hosting fruit fly and massively impacting our horticulture industry.

“I applaud Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) border control staff for finding the nectarines and for the law to have taken a zero-tolerance approach to breaches. If it didn’t, New Zealand would be hammered by viruses and other pests, and the behaviour of visitors, either deliberate or accidental, won’t change.

“I am not alone in this – many writers in the comment section on the news story amplified how important biosecurity and our indigenous biodiversity was for New Zealand.”

But this visiting Australian didn’t have to have this experience, says Karen.

“Imagine if 15 minutes before touching down she had been screened a compulsory to screen biosecurity safety video. That may have just been the memory trigger she needed.”

For some reason some airlines don’t see New Zealand’s environment or primary industries as worth protecting. That doesn’t sit comfortably with New Zealanders or MPI and its goal of all New Zealanders partnering to protect what’s special here.

“Mind boggling really when considering the only reason these airline companies have business is because either people are trading goods, or they are visiting our shores as tourists.

“It’s about time air carriers played ball. It would be nice if they voluntarily did it, but I do implore politicians to start looking at regulating for a compulsory message to be played to our nation’s guests. This will protect what is important about New Zealand.”

Source: Federated Farmers

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