Avondale fruit fly restrictions lifted

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 16:30 25/05/2012
Queensland fruit fly
FOUND: The Queensland fruit fly.

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New Zealand's fruit and vegetable industry appears safe as restrictions are lifted from the Auckland suburb at the centre of the Queensland fruit fly scare.

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) declared today New Zealand is a fruit fly free zone.

Restrictions on fruit movements within Avondale were lifted at 7am today.

A single male Queensland fruit fly raised fears for New Zealand's multi-billion dollar fruit industry when it was found in a trap in the suburb on May 8.

However, two weeks of trapping, fruit sampling and testing failed to uncover any further evidence of the Australian pest.

Residents were banned from moving whole fresh fruit and vegetables within a 1.5km area in Avondale while officials scoured the suburb.

The restrictions hampered everything from supermarket shopping to packing school lunches.

MPI compliance and response deputy director Andrew Coleman said there is no longer any need for this restriction.

The ban was a precautionary move while MPI carried out intensive checks for any further flies.  

Horticulture New Zealand president Andrew Fenton said the community help was vital.

"The Queensland fruit fly is a major pest of a wide range of crops.  Had this pest become established in New Zealand, it would have had serious consequences for our growers and the wider New Zealand economy."

Although the restrictions have been lifted, MPI would continue with its routine fruit fly surveillance programme.

There are 7,500 fruit fly traps around New Zealand, with 4,000 in Auckland alone.

Hundreds of MPI staff haven been working on the case, checking traps, handing out information on fruit flies throughout Avondale and working in laboratories to identify any potential pests.

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- Auckland Now

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