24 Sep 2012

Doubts over biosecurity cost-share

1:28 pm on 24 September 2012

The country's agricultural sector says a fair deal needs to be reached with the Government before it will commit to splitting the costs of dealing with major biosecurity threats.

Primary industry groups have begun talks with the Government about sweeping changes to the system under which individual sectors might meet some of the costs of biosecurity breaches.

The changes would require sectors to identify which biosecurity risks pose the greatest threat and devise a plan for how to manage the risk, in conjunction with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

National Beekeepers Association co-chief executive Daniel Paul says the industry is concerned about cost-sharing proposals.

"For instance the Government is looking to import Australian honey, which could bring with it a number of pests and disease threats.

"That would have a major impact on our industry and on the other hand the Government are saying, well, we'll bring it in, but if there's a problem, you pay for it. That doesn't really seem fair."

Pipfruit New Zealand wants assurance that growers will have a say on imports that could be harmful to pipfruit.

Ministry spokesperson David Hayes says New Zealand must abide by international conventions, so industry is not able to have explicit decision-making rights, but it can contribute and provide input.