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22 December 2005
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry - Quarantine Service (MAFQS)
recognised the work of Accredited Persons (APs), who identify unwanted pests
entering the country in sea containers, at the Inaugural MAF Accredited Person
Awards, held in Auckland today.
Three individuals, Ariki Bratton, William Harris and Tony Tyler and their
employers, Kiwibond, Sims Pacific and Delmaine Fine Foods, received Christmas
hampers, for detecting the highest number of biosecurity contaminants at
transitional facilities this year.
MAFQS Auckland Cargo Manager, Charles Hatcher said that without the support of
these dedicated people and their employers these unwanted organisms and
contamination may not have been found.
"The support of industry is essential to the success of this programme. MAFQS is
indebted to employers who encourage staff to train and participate in the AP
Programme. This extension of MAF's 'eyes and ears' is an essential part of the
country's border control," Mr Hatcher said.
MAFQS has an established network of over 18,500 APs throughout New Zealand.
Providing front-line support to MAFQS, they 'keep watch' for unwanted pests at
the 6680 transitional container facilities around the country.
"It only takes one introduced pest to damage our country and one of us to stop
that pest. The service provided by APs, working largely in the logistics
industry, is vital to the protection of New Zealand's biosecurity and our way of
life," he said.
Mr Hatcher thanked Horticulture New Zealand, Meat & Wool New Zealand, Deer
Industry NZ, New Zealand Pork Industry Board, Fonterra, Wine Industry New
Zealand, National Beekeepeers Association of New Zealand, and Tourism Industry
Association New Zealand, for their generosity and support of the Inaugural
Accredited Persons Awards. The organisations provided fresh produce, meat,
cheese, and wine, plus family day trips to Waiheke, Rangitoto and Devonport to
fill six Christmas hampers, which were presented to the award recipients at a
ceremony at Butterfly Creek, Auckland Airport today.
APs are trained to recognise the variety of pests and organisms they are likely
to find in and on containers, cargo and packaging. Each has an understanding of
the importance of biosecurity and the role they play in protecting New Zealand.
Increased vigilance at the border has resulted in the detection of over 2800
biosecurity contaminants between January and August 2005. APs have intercepted a
range of significant contaminants including soil, red back spiders, crazy ants,
white cedar moth, longhorn beetles, and stored product pests.
Over 580,000 sea containers are inspected upon entry into New Zealand each year.
All have been inspected externally and internally for contaminants. APs look for
live animals (lizards, snakes, spiders, crazy ants, giant African snails, Asian
gypsy moth), soil that could contain diseases and pathogens, and seeds carrying
diseases or at risk of becoming established weeds. Any items found to be a
biosecurity risk are referred to a MAFQS Officer who will direct further action.
Senior Communications Adviser
027 285 5715 or 04 819 0161