9 Jun 2014

Report raises biosecurity cost concerns

7:17 am on 9 June 2014

A new report says primary sector businesses are worried about how biosecurity costs will be shared with the Government.

This year's agribusiness agenda from accounting firm KPMG says that ensuring world-class biosecurity, and recognising the importance of food safety, are the first and second priorities for industry leaders.

Businesses also raised concerns about food safety after the Fonterra botulism false alarm last year.

KPMG head of global agribusiness in Auckland, Ian Proudfoot said biosecurity remained a hot topic.

He said it was the fourth year in a row that biosecurity has been ranked the number one priority for industry leaders.

But Mr Proudfoot said this year the the conversation is much more around government industry agreements and how the cost gets shared under those arrangements as to whether they should be entered into.

"So what we're seeing there is a lot of concern about writing an open cheque to the Treasury should an incursion occur and I think that there's a lot of work that the sectors are looking to do to get agreements that are going to work for them."

Mr Proudfoot said there were also conversations about food safety this year and the key message is that it's essential to focus on protecting 'brand New Zealand' when there are food safety scares.

He said that means a consistent approach and it's essential there is strong communication targeted at core consumers in dealing with any future issues.