Questions raised over MPI's response to fruit fly discovery

The fruit fly biosecurity response has been expanded, with the discovery of a second Queensland fly in Auckland. 

It came as the leaders of the response team were questioned over resources and their use of detector dogs. 

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Director General Ray Smith says the situation is a worry.

'It's always worrying when you find another Queensland fruit fly, which is why we've responded as quickly as we have."

But MPI's leaders are facing questions over how the two Queensland pests, and a species from Tonga, may have got in. 

Newshub's revealed 10 unaccredited cruise ships didn't have sniffer dogs check them last year. 

There's also concern about resources, including dog numbers, at the mail centre.

Meanwhile 17 handlers left the Auckland dog team over the period of a year and a half, and the green lane at the airport is not monitored by dogs between 2am and 5am. 

Newshub revealed the green lane issue in September - and that gap still exists. 

National Party biosecurity spokesperson Nathan Guy says the gaps are a shock

"This is a real shock, particularly when we're dealing with devastating Queensland fruit flies." 

But Mr Smith says he's on top of it.

"I want an independent view about that issue and others to come to me fairly quickly. That will come in the next four weeks."

MPI points out however, that with x-rays and quarantine officers dogs are not their only biosecurity tool.

MPI's response has been on the streets of Auckland's Northcote Point. 

An inspection team paid particular attention to the garden surrounding one house on Clarence Rd.

That house is within Zone A, where no whole fruit, vegetables or fruit waste material can be taken out of the area.

There's also a Zone B, where home-grown fruit can't be moved out of the area. 

Local businesses were also questioned over their use of fruit. Café owner Simon Mackenzie says he was quizzed by MPI about his produce.

"Where it was coming from, how was supplying it to us. Was it coming from outside the area, or was it something we were sourcing locally."

Another business owner says he was told to restrict his sales. Subhas Chadra is a dairy owner and says he's been limited.

"I can't sell the fruit to the people who are not living in my area. If anyone living in the city, or outside my area, I can't sell to them."

The latest fruit fly was found 5.7 kilometres away from the Devonport one. MPI risk advisor Catherine Duthie says they don't think it's the same fly.

"We're treating them as two completely separate incursions. As you rightly point out, the flying distance is way too far."

MPI says although this is the second Queensland fruit fly found in Auckland, it does not mean there's been an outbreak.

The one found in Northcote Point was a male. So was the one found in Devonport a week ago and at this stage, there is no evidence of a breeding population.