21 Apr 2014

Fruit fly restrictions lifted

9:37 pm on 21 April 2014

Restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables in Whangarei have been lifted as no more Queensland fruit flies have been found.

The Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni).

The Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni). Photo: James Niland

A single fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap in Parihaka on 1 April, sparking a biosecurity alert. It was the second such discovery this year. The first was nearby in January.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said no more flies had been found in two weeks of rigourous surveillance and so New Zealand will keep its fruit fly-free status.

Chief operations officer Andrew Coleman said some biosecurity measures will be boosted.

He said that includes audits of 18 import facilities, increased screening of international air and cruise passengers, and greater use of sniffer dogs.

Horticulture New Zealand spokesperson Leigh Catley said the organisation was "cautiously optimistic" that the ministry had taken on board some of the industry's concerns in the past 18 months and were looking seriously at what can be done differently.

"The horticulture industry doesn't want to be doing this every six months - it's extremely draining. So they need to - and we will expect them - to take a good hard look at the way things are working at the border."

The Queensland fruit fly makes fruit and vegetables inedible and could cripple New Zealand's $4 billion export industry if it becomes established.