Forestry congratulates MAF on moth eradication

21 Mar 2006

The NZ Forest Owners Association has thanked the government for being steadfast in its decision to eradicate painted apple moth and the fall webworm.

"It was not an easy call for the government to continue costly and controversial spraying programmes. Forest owners greatly appreciate the government's resolve and the professionalism with which the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry went about its task," says chief executive David Rhodes.

"Not only have two potentially serious pests been eradicated. We have also sent a message to our trading partners that we are serious about keeping New Zealand free of exotic pests which would otherwise have serious implications for trade."

He says that if the two pests had become established in New Zealand it would have been financially serious for the forest industry, which contributes more than $5 billion a year to the economy.

"The moths would also have had a dire impact on the country's indigenous vegetation, horticulture, public parks and private gardens."

Mr Rhodes says effective biosecurity is vital for New Zealand's economic future.

"We need to effectively manage imported pest risks and eradicate any incursions. It is reassuring that the government is continuing to strengthen the country’s biosecurity resources and to make the hard calls when required."

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For more information, contact:

David Rhodes: Tel 04-473 4769 (business), 027 495 5525 (mobile)