Myrtle Rust Spread Means Minister Should Resign

New Zealand First says further discoveries of Myrtle Rust at a second Waitara nursery and a garden centre in New Plymouth, along with the original Kerikeri nursery, are failures in biosecurity that the Minister must now take responsibility for.

“Minister Guy’s position is untenable,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“We are angry about this because the Minister has not taken Myrtle Rust seriously - neither when New Zealand First raised it in Parliament over a month ago nor when he failed to make a Ministerial statement when he knew it had got to Northland.

“Five properties are now infected and 100% of those infected properties are nurseries or beside a nursery.  There’s no way Myrtle Rust is that specific if it was windborne. 

“It is time for the defenders of this government’s inactions to face this fact.  Four nurseries, and a property beside a nursery, provide proof that this incursion was not airborne but either a catastrophic failure in post-entry quarantine or from an MPI accredited offshore facility.

“It being windborne is as likely as it being the world’s first case of ‘Nurserybulldustier’!

“Scion, in a report produced only last year, restated its view that the biggest risk to New Zealand was from imported plant material and daily they are being proven right. 

“It means the Minister who championed the windborne theory needs to do the honourable thing and make way for someone competent.  That could be a challenge for Mr English.

“New Zealand First also wants the current Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, to be asked to commence an independent investigation into how Myrtle Rust got here.  How do we learn unless we investigate?,” says Mr Peters.