Fruit fly scare: Industry group backs MPI's response

  • 17/02/2019

The country's biosecurity authority is being given top marks for acting fast on the latest fruit fly discovery.

Biosecurity teams have been out setting traps and putting up signs after a male Queensland fruit fly was detected in Devonport, on Auckland's North Shore.

The Fruit Fly Council - which represents industry groups - says the Ministry for Primary Industries is moving quickly.

"Certainly from where we sit there's been good collaboration and communication going on," said spokesperson Stu Hutchings.

"They put people into the area very rapidly, and certainly made good public awareness."

There has been criticism about the speed of the response to the find.

"I think the response has been a bit slow to be honest," National's North Shore MP Maggie Barry told Newshub.

"As the local MP I would have hoped to have been informed that this was coming up so I could help spread the word."

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor is expected to arrive in Devonport on Sunday afternoon, when MPI will give the latest update on the threat.

Mr Hutchings says everyone has a role to play in stopping its spread.

"This is one of the bigger biosecurity risks to horticulture in New Zealand. Having everybody be really aware of that and making sure they follow the rules - especially coming across the border - is really important."

A large field operation is underway - 35 biosecurity officials are out on the street, handing out leaflets and talking to locals, and 150 traps are being installed to catch any more if they're out there.

"If they do actually see any fruit fly eggs or larvae on any fruit that they cut up… [they should] contact the biosecurity team," said Mr Hutchings.