Fruit fly costs taxpayers millions

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has finally revealed the full cost incurred to the taxpayer during the Queensland fruit fly outbreak in Auckland last year.

Fourteen of the flies were discovered in the suburb of Grey Lynn, prompting a wide-scale eradication operation including a 3.5km export restriction zone in the area.

The operation also involved dedicated staff routinely checking residential properties for any sign of the pest.

Figures obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act show the MPI response cost the Government more than $15.7 million -- an extra $2 million more than originally reported by the Ministry in December.

Fruit fly costs taxpayers millions


The most expensive part of the response was logistics and operations, followed by movement control.

MPI's Acting Chief Operating Officer Veronica Herrera says the cost is justified.

"The horticultural industry contributes around $6 billion of New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product, including employment," she says.

"In 2013, sales of produce earned [the country] $4.7 billion.

"More than 90 percent of the expert of the expert crop by value was crops that are host species for the Queensland fruit fly," Ms Herrera says.