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Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy:

'Port of Tauranga is biosecurity hero'

The Port of Tauranga has been named one of New Zealand's biosecurity heroes by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

The port has won the industry category of the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards for its initiative to encourage everyone involved in working around the port to have a better understanding of how to keep out pests.

Biosecurity Operational Excellence at Port of Tauranga was launched last year and stemmed from the 2010 Psa incursion which ravaged the kiwifruit industry.

A target pest for the port has been the brown marmorated stink bug, which liked to hitchhike on containers and had the potential to impact significantly on horticulture sectors. Another risk was cruise passengers disembarking with fresh produce that could be hosting fruit flies.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said, by having a heightened awareness of what to look for in day-to-day operations, all staff within the port community could play a part in keeping unwanted pests out of port operations.

Minister Nathan Guy said the winners of the inaugural awards had shown a real commitment to protecting New Zealand.

He said the aim of Biosecurity Excellence was no biosecurity incursions coming through the port.

The Supreme and Government awards winner was the Department of Conservation for its Great White Butterfly Eradication Project. It was the first time an unwanted butterfly population has been eradicated anywhere in the world.

When Biosecurity Excellence was launched in 2016, Mr Guy said it had the potential to be replicated by other ports around New Zealand. It was driven by the port company, Kiwifruit Vine Health, the Ministry for Primary Industries, local government and industry organisations.

The scheme arose from a working group set up in 2014 with the goal to get everyone involved in port activities to have a better understanding of biosecurity risks by supplementing the Ministry's screening and inspection processes.

Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive Barry O'Neil said at the launch that there were 750 to 1000 people working in and around the port. If they understood what risks to look out for and what needed to happen, it would be a huge addition to the Ministry's inspection process.

Source: nzherald.co.nz

Publication date: 8/8/2017


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