Asian gypsy moth a major threat to NZ forests

1 Apr 2003

Forest owners are extremely concerned about the discovery of an Asian gypsy moth in Hamilton last week.

NZ Forest Owners Association president, Peter Berg, says the gypsy moth is a voracious pest that poses a major threat to New Zealand plantation forests.

"This discovery highlights the need to further strengthen our defenses against the introduction of exotic pests and diseases.

"Every New Zealander must remain totally vigilant in the fight to prevent new incursions and report possible new pests and diseases. A lot is at stake; the potential loss of millions of dollars in export income, jobs, and New Zealand's reputation as a clean green country," says Mr Berg.

"The Government must respond to this latest breach of our biosecurity system by speeding up the development and implementation of a biosecurity strategy for the country. It must make sufficient funds available to strengthen all parts of our biosecurity defences, pre-border, border, post-border detection and eradication.

"For this particular incursion, no resources must be spared in identifying the extent of the incursion and in totally eradicating the threat as soon as possible."

Mr Berg says the NZFOA has offered MAF "any appropriate assistance" they might need to locate and destroy any other moths that might be in the area.

He says association members are also being urged to keep a particularly close lookout in their forests.