No Excuse for Biosecurity Breach Thursday, Jan 23, 2003
Andrew Hollingsworth's guilty plea to importing illegal moths into New Zealand highlights the need for ongoing government funded biosecurity education said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc.)
"Too many home gardeners and collectors such as Mr Hollingsworth think they are exempt from biosecurity restrictions and seem to have no idea of the devastation their carelessness can cause. Surely the regular aerial spraying of Auckland for Painted Apple Moth is tangible evidence of the price we all have to pay.
"By bringing foreign species into New Zealand these people are placing the horticulture and agriculture industries at risk. This isn't just a problem for farmers, it's a problem for all New Zealanders, as these irresponsible actions threaten New Zealand's livelihood and biodiversity.
"Mr Hollingsworth claims to have no idea of the possible consequences of his actions. He admitted he knew that if the moths were released they would have become pests, but maintains he did not know it was illegal to import them. His statements simply reinforce his apparent contempt for New Zealand's biosecurity.
"Millions of dollars have been spent in an attempt to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth from Auckland. Mr Hollingsworth admitted to MAF officials that he was aware of the eradication programmes but continued to import and breed his moths despite it. One wonders how anyone can be so naïve, as all around him Aucklanders are having to cope with the disruption of the Painted Apple Moth spray eradication programme.
"Biosecurity restrictions are there for a reason and New Zealanders should count themselves lucky that Mr Hollingsworth's actions were discovered before any serious damage could be done.
"New Zealand's biosecurity is extremely important and Mr Hollingsworth has shown blatant disregard for it. We can only hope that the penalty he receives will deter all such irresponsible actions." Mr Lambie concluded.