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Headline: A whiff of a new biosecurity scandal?

A pest which could create havoc for New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sector must be as much a focus for the Government as hunting out fruit flies, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“While the Ministry for Primary Industries is tearing around looking for fruit flies, an even worse pest – the brown marmorated stink bug – may be establishing itself here.”

Considered to be among the most destructive and invasive plant pests through Asia and the United States a number of the bugs have been found in New Zealand over the last six months. 

“They live up to their name – they are voracious feeders and a colony here would put almost every crop at risk, including export fruit, produce for the domestic market and garden roses.

“A weak biosecurity system and lax border controls have now allowed two extremely aggressive plant pests to enter the country.

“This once again reeks of a Government failing to take the issue as seriously as it should,” Damien O’Connor says.