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Published: 2002-07-12 00:00:00

Proposed new controls on owning ferrets don’t go far enough, Environment Waikato’s Biosecurity Committee says.

An amendment to the Biosecurity Act and Wildlife Act currently before Parliament will declare ferrets an ‘unwanted organism’. Pet ferrets will be allowed to live out their lives, and it will allow existing ferret farms which export their animals to continue to do so.

This week’s Biosecurity Committee was concerned about that provision, and Cr Evan Penny said he was stunned that export should be allowed to continue.

“MAF should just knock it on the head,” he said.

He was critical of MAF’s handling of the varroa bee mite invasion, which had been left to spread despite the industry being willing to work on controlling the mite.

“It is just not competent to fail to recognise the cost benefit of spending one or two million as a response for an industry which stands to lose millions. Do you just do nothing? The beekeepers are willing to put money and effort in but they need assistance and there’s no co-operation from Wellington.”

Chairman Helen Lane said these situations were likely to increase and create problems, but that was no excuse for not putting the Region’s own systems in place to control invasive organisms. MAF had not listened to the industry and did not acknowledge the lessons learned from successfully controlling possums, which could have been used to combat varroa.