The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is pleased to announce that the Auckland fruit fly operation has been successful and the insect pest has been eradicated from New Zealand.
Director General Martyn Dunne says field staff cleared fruit fly traps in Grey Lynn for the final time this morning and found no signs of the Queensland fruit fly.
“We have not found any fruit flies in the affected area since March and enough time has passed to confidently say that New Zealand is again fruit fly-free.
“Local residents will be happy to hear that the Controlled Area has been lifted and there are no longer any restrictions on the movement of fresh fruit and vegetables in Auckland.
“The MPI wheelie bins which have become a part of the local landscape will now be removed and life should soon get back to normal.”
Mr Dunne says MPI and the country’s growers would like to sincerely thank the residents and businesses of the affected suburbs.
“You’ve borne the brunt of this situation with both the movement restrictions and regular insecticide baiting on fruiting plants in your gardens and we’re extremely grateful for your support.
“I can’t stress enough how vital this work has been. This particular insect pest is a significant threat to our $3.6 billion a year horticultural export industry and home gardens.
“This makes the eradication cost of $13.6 million (as at the end of October) a very justifiable investment to make,” Mr Dunne says.
The programme kicked off in February this year when a single Queensland fruit fly was caught in one of MPI’s extensive network of fruit fly surveillance traps. A small breeding population of the fruit flies was soon found, triggering the resulting programme of insecticide treatments, trapping and community education.
Martyn Dunne says eradicating the Queensland fruit fly has been a collaborative effort between MPI, horticulture industry partners KVH, Pipfruit New Zealand and Horticulture New Zealand, AsureQuality (MPI’s field operations provider), Auckland Council and the local community.
While the eradication programme is now over and New Zealand is officially fruit fly-free, MPI’s routine checks for fruit flies will continue and the nationwide network of 7,600 fruit fly surveillance traps will remain in place.
“I’d also like to take this time to remind New Zealanders that everyone has a role in biosecurity and if people are travelling overseas, they must declare or dispose of biosecurity risk goods, such as food, when returning.”