17 Jul 2013

Greens unhappy with moves to speed up seed

12:45 pm on 17 July 2013

Moves to speed up the quarantine process surrounding the importation of foreign pasture seeds has not impressed the Green Party.

The Ministry for Primary Industries and AgResearch have agreed that seeds being brought into the country will no longer have to spend eight weeks in quarantine glasshouses.

Instead researchers working with the plants will be charged with looking out for diseases such as seed-borne fungi.

The change is designed to reduce costs for scientists and speed up research work - hopefully getting beneficial new cultivars to farmers faster.

But Green Party agricultural spokesperson Steffan Browning says it will only take one researcher to not do their job properly for there to be a potential biosecurity disaster.

Although he agrees with reducing the costs associated with the quarantine process, he doesn't believe getting rid of the eight week quarantine is going to make that big a difference to agricultural science.

He says different ways should be found to reduce costs while keeping the existing quarantine framework.