Measures to further protect New Zealand’s economy from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) continue as the Government focuses on strengthening biosecurity settings, Biosecurity and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today.
Biosecurity New Zealand this week will begin using foot mats with disinfecting chemicals for arrivals from Indonesia to step on to in a trial to help ensure their footwear is clean of the virus. This will add another layer of protection to the measures introduced last week.
“With FMD recently found in the tourist hotspot of Bali, we’ve taken concrete steps to boost our work at the border in recent weeks including a public awareness campaign,” Mr O’Connor said.
I call on everyone to be vigilant in playing their part to protect New Zealand’s economic security.”
Recent measures to protect against FMD, include:
- A new wide-reaching awareness campaign targeting travellers before they travel to Indonesia, through in-flight announcements and on arrival at International airports.
- An on-the-ground audit of the palm kernel supply chain in Indonesia.
- Biosecurity New Zealand is launching an FMD Readiness Taskforce to ensure all our preparedness work is refreshed.
- Providing regular updates to primary sector partners and the country’s veterinary network and working with primary sector partners to ensure their farmers remain vigilant.
- Providing personal protective equipment, disinfectant, backpack sprayers and other tools to Indonesia to help on the ground, as well as our technical expertise.
Significant biosecurity investments made by the Government in recent years include $110.9 million in Budget 2022, of which $21.2 million is to boost critical diagnostic, surveillance and investigative capability, and heightened readiness for foot-and-mouth and other high-impact animal diseases, Mr O’Connor said.
New Zealand has no flights directly from Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia.
“Regardless of this, every passenger arrival card is examined and those from countries that have FMD (including Indonesia) are directed to a different process of questioning, baggage search and disinfection,” Mr O’Connor said.
“This means that should passengers transit other airports, risks are still addressed.
“Biosecurity New Zealand’s experts are providing me regular advice on the FMD situation overseas and we’ll be flexible in our approach. Trialling the use of sanitising foot mats is an example of that responsiveness.
“We also strongly urge anyone who was in contact with livestock in Indonesia, to stay away from farms and animals in New Zealand for one week.”
“We also ask if anyone sees their pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep or deer with symptoms including high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness, to call their veterinarian or MPI’s exotic pest and disease hotline (0800 80 99 66).
Furthermore the Government is working closely with its Australian counterparts and primary sector partners.
The primary sector earned New Zealand a record $52.2 billion this year and is forecast to lift those earnings to $56.8 billion by 2026.
“It’s essential that our world class biosecurity systems are continually improving so we can maintain this growth,” Damien O’Connor said.
More information about FMD is available here.
Source: Minister of Agriculture