10 Dec 2012

Gaps still seen in biosecurity staffing by PSA

6:35 am on 10 December 2012

The Public Service Association says the appointment of additional biosecurity staff still leaves gaps that urgently need to be filled.

The Primary Industries Minister has welcomed the graduation of 46 new recruits who will go into quarantine and dog detection roles in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said while that will make a difference, it will only restore frontline numbers to where they were four years ago.

He said border security services have been stretched due to restructuring and belt-tightening at the Ministry for Primary Industries.

There was no dog inspection unit at Wellington airport for several months and there have been serious staff shortages in Christchurch and at Port Auckland because vacancies have not been filled.

Mr Wagstaff said the new appointments won't solve staffing problems at ports such as Nelson and New Plymouth where extra capacity is sorely needed.