MP pitches into pork issue
New Zealand's biosecurity should not be compromised for free trade, says Labour primary industries spokesman Damien O'Connor.
The comments come as the pork industry awaits a Supreme Court decision on its appeal against the Ministry of Primary Industries' decision to relax the rules around the importation of raw pork.
Pig farmers fear the introduction of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome into New Zealand, one of the few countries free of the disease.
The Government has argued that the risks are slim.
Speaking at the NZ Pork conference earlier this month, Primary Industries Associate Minister Jo Goodhew said biosecurity incursions happened every week and were managed "in tried and trusted ways".
"There will always be debates about the best scientific evidence."
But O'Connor told the Manawatu Standard yesterday that the earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington provided a "timely reminder" that slim-chance events do occur.
"The slim chances do occur and the costs are huge," he said.
The West Coast-Tasman MP was in Feilding yesterday with Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway. The pair visited Ovation meat processors, Baker No-Tillage and the Ewanrigg Farm of Mariji and Curwen Hare, who won the supreme award at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards.