25 Jul 2012

Hand NZ border protection to Australia - critic

2:48 pm on 25 July 2012

A Canterbury farmer and machinery importer thinks New Zealand would have a better biosecurity service if the job of border protection was handed to the Australians to run.

That's Jeremy Talbot's response to an attack by Primary Industry Minister David Carter on Horticulture New Zealand for its criticism of the biosecurity system.

"Biosecurity (performance) through the Ministry of Primary Industries is in such a sad state that we should immediately engage the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to come in and run our biosecurity," he says.

Mr Carter challenged HortNZ at its annual conference on Tuesday for what he described as an ill-informed crusade.

And he warned it that if it continued, it ran the risk of lowering its credibility in the eyes of the government.

That response has outraged Mr Talbot, who's been a critic himself of biosecurity measures covering grain and stock feed imports.

"We now have a minister that would rather shoot the messengers, than listen to the messages about his performance and his department's performance," he says.

Mr Talbot says New Zealand biosecurity standards covering plant materials are woefully negligent.