Bring Back 100% X-Ray Now Says HortNZ

18 Feb 2015

Horticulture New Zealand wants 100% x-ray of passenger bags reinstated at our international airports, at least until summer ends, following yet another Queensland fruit fly detection.

For the fourth time in three years New Zealand’s $5 billion horticulture industry and all 5500 commercial fruit and vegetable growers are waiting to see how bad this detection will be.

“So far it is only one fly. And we fully support the Ministry for Primary Industries’ response to this threat,” HortNZ president Julian Raine says.

We also ask the public to back the Ministry’s efforts, especially in the exclusion zone areas, as this pest will also have big impacts on home gardeners.

HortNZ is laying the blame for this breach of our border on Australia’s inability to control the pest.

“Australia’s biosecurity protection within its own state borders is seriously breaking down.”

Just last week the residents of Adelaide were told of the second detection of Queensland fruit flies in their city in less than two months. Seven flies were found in the last detection.

“South Australia is supposed to be a Queensland fruit fly free state. Obviously the spread of this pest is out-of-control in Australia and the interstate regulators are powerless to stop its progression south.”

The Queensland fruit fly can only come from Australia and some Pacific islands, most likely via a passenger coming off a plane or on a consignment of imported fruit.

“Reinstating the 100% x-ray of passenger bags coming from across the Tasman would go a long way towards helping us improve our protection and lower this risk.

“It is not acceptable to go through this drama every summer. New Zealand horticulture deserves better protection.”

The risk to the $6 billion New Zealand horticulture industry (including fruit, vegetables and wine) from the Queensland Fruit Fly is two-fold: 

  • the destruction caused by the pest and the on-going cost of attempting to control it, and 
  • the cost of international markets closing to our products.


Extra Info:

  • Total New Zealand fruit and vegetable exports: $2.5 billion
  • Total New Zealand fruit and vegetable value including domestic: $4 billion
  • Total New Zealand horticulture production, including fruit, vegetables, wine, honey, flowers and seeds: $6.4 billion