7 Oct 2009

Concern over pest threat in imported flowers

6:03 am on 7 October 2009

Flower growers are concerned about the threat of new pests enteringNew Zealand on cut flower imports.

But a meeting with senior biosecurity officials has given them some reassurance that import inspection procedures will be tightened.

The New Zealand Flower Growers' Association says its fears have mounted since the volume of flower imports started to grow rapidly two years ago, especially roses from India.

Chairman David Blewden says they have the potential to carry plant pests and diseases that could survive New Zealand conditions and become established here.

Alarm grew when growers discovered that import procedures were not being properly followed.

Mr Blewden says Biosecurity New Zealand has responded to some of their concerns.

The agency intends to introduce improved testing and monitoring procedures and Mr Blewden says it's working on a new import standard for cut flowers and a risk analysis for roses in particular.