Minister cuts short trade visit as second fruit fly discovered

The Minister for Biosecurity has cut short a trade visit to Dubai after the discovery of a second species of fruit fly in Auckland.

The solitary male fly was identified as the 'facialis fruit fly' after being found in a surveillance trap in Ōtara.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says no other members of the species have been found and there's no indication of a facialis invasion in New Zealand.

On Thursday a male Queensland fruit fly was caught in Devonport, prompting an investigation from Biosecurity New Zealand.

Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor says the second find of an unwanted fruit fly is disappointing and the Government is committed to ensuring it doesn’t establish here.

"Getting rid of the fruit fly is New Zealand’s most well-oiled biosecurity response," he says.

"We’ve been here several times before and each time we’ve successfully got rid of this horticultural pest," says Mr O'Connor.

"There will be cross agency support for Biosecurity NZ to ensure it can call on all the resources it needs given the fruit fly responses alongside Mycoplasma bovis."

He says as part of a multi-layered biosecurity system, the 7500 traps that lure the fruit fly for early detection during this summer risk season have done their job.

"While Biosecurity New Zealand’s work is independently audited each year, it’s important we learn and evolve our biosecurity system and I strongly support its extra check of air passenger and cruise pathways. This will happen in the next few weeks."

"Two fruit flies is not an incursion as we saw in 2014 when the fruit fly was found twice in Whangarei, but we can’t be too careful and as the response ramps up I urge the local community to be vigilant.

This is a pest that could significantly harm our $5.5 billion horticulture sector and is why the Government is committed to do what it takes to keep it from establishing here."

Damien O’Connor will be on-site at the biosecurity operation in Otara on Wednesday morning.