Auckland fruit fly response comes to a successful end

A joint Government and industry response to unwanted fruit flies has been closed out, with New Zealand fruit and vegetable grower representatives saying they are pleased with the successful result.

Stu Hutchings, Chair of the Fruit Fly Council - made up of impacted industry sector representatives and Biosecurity New Zealand under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) partnership - says the Auckland response followed the pre-agreed operational plans established by the Council and tested in previous responses.

Council members have been involved in the decision-making process during the almost year-long response, ensuring the interests of New Zealand’s primary producers were always represented.

“Fruit fly finds are of great concern for New Zealand’s industries and that’s why we’ve been part of the governance group to ensure the most appropriate action was always taken, minimising impacts to growers.”

“Since the very first fruit fly detection in February 2019 it’s been a priority for us all to work together in the best interests of growers and do everything we can to ensure collaboration between industry and Biosecurity New Zealand.”

“The good news is that response activities - both at a governance and operational level - have worked and prove that we can all have continued confidence in our biosecurity system.”

“The financial impact of a fruit fly incursion to New Zealand’s billion-dollar horticulture industry is something we simply cannot afford – the kiwifruit industry alone could be impacted by up to $430 million. The estimated $18 million investment put into this robust and successful response is justified and confirms the commitment GIA partners have to protecting growers from such serious threats.”

Stu adds that industry members have also had a huge role in helping staff the response, contributing to a range of field activities such as fruit collection and inspection, trapping, home visits and public awareness events.

“The feedback we’ve had from the many people who took part in the response is that they learnt a lot about specialised biosecurity response activities that they can take back to their own organisations and industries, and that they appreciated the public support they witnessed while visiting affected people’s homes and gardens.”

“The perspectives of the general public and our fruit and vegetable growers really came together and hammered home the range of economic, lifestyle and cultural impacts we all face if an unwanted pest like fruit fly were to establish here.”

All the industry members of the Fruit Fly Council will continue to advocate for their growers as active members of the GIA partnership, and say they are more prepared than ever as a result of this response to continue working in partnership with Government to ensure similar successful outcomes in the future.

For more information:
Lisa Gibbison
Kiwifruit Vine Health
Tel: +64 22 025 4724

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