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Ed Sheeran

New biosecurity agency needed

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The Maori Biosecurity Network Te Tira Whakamataki says the Ministry for Primary Industry is failing to effectively fight threats like myrtle rust and kauri dieback, and responsibility for biosecurity needs to be shifted to an independent agency.

The network is angry the ministry lifted a controlled area notice in Taranaki on myrtle rust the same day as the fungus was confirmed for the first time as being on conservation land.

Spokesperson Amanda Black says the ministry is giving up, rather than sticking with a mechanism which could have slowed down the spread of the disease by stopping people moving infected pants round.

She says it isn’t giving people with the expertise the support they need to do their jobs.

"By removing it from MPI, much like they did with the PSA (kiwifruit) problem where they had an independent trust running it, at least then you could have Maori in there more strongly having a voice and it gets away from industry-led and it becomes more social, conservation, Maori-led," Ms Black says.

As a scientist she believes there are solutions for problems like myrtle rust and kauri die-back, but more action is needed to find them.

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