Single fruit fly find cost nearly $1m

FLYING SOLO: Queensland fruit fly.
FLYING SOLO: Queensland fruit fly.

The single fruit fly found in Whangarei in January cost taxpayers more than $900,000, in a campaign to establish if it was part of a breeding population.

Figures released to Newstalk ZB under the Official Information Act show the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spent $916,446 on its response after the discovery of a single male Queensland fruit fly in the Parihaka area of Whangarei, near Northport on January 21.

The discovery sparked a major effort that saw locals banned from transporting fruit and some vegetables within a defined area.

Horticulture New Zealand said the discovery threatened a $4 billion industry, with fears that international markets could block our exports if the fly became established here.

After an extensive campaign lasting two weeks, MPI ended the restrictions, with no other flies found.

The costwas made up of $733,536 spent on service contracts, $67,162 on publicity, $82,716 on staff overtime and $33,000 on staff travel, accommodation and expenses.

At the time of the campaign, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the response was "rapid, professional and thorough".

Stuff