Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor confirmed in Parliament yesterday that there have been no detector dogs working at Auckland International Airport between 2-5am for nine months, National Biosecurity Spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“This is shocking and making matters worse over 7560 passengers have wandered through the green lane without being adequately checked. On average every passenger carries two bags, so over 15,000 items bearing potential biosecurity risk have gone through without screening.
“With the height of fruit fly and stink bug season approaching this is embarrassing for Mr O’Connor as his Government talked tough on biosecurity but have left farmers and growers livelihoods at risk.
“The irony is that today the Government has launched a social media campaign about the importance of biosecurity for 4.7 million New Zealanders – yet they can’t even staff Auckland International Airport properly with detector dogs to stop pests arriving in the first place.
“The dog detector unit is a small, close-knit team who typically take their role of protecting New Zealand’s borders very seriously. However, they have been undermined by a toxic work culture and poor management.
“These issues have led to a huge amount of resignations, and now the dogs are left to snooze while pests flood into New Zealand in the early hours of the morning which has created a ticking time bomb.”