July 27, 2022
Panic plans dusted off as foot and mouth threatens
The director of Māori partnerships at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is warning foot and mouth disease would have a devastating effect on the economy including the Māori economy if it got loose.
Biosecurity measures have been increased for anyone coming in from Indonesia after an outbreak in Bali of the disease, which causes painful blisters on the feet and mouths of hoofed animals including pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep and deer.
Dale Stephens says if it got in, the primary export sector could be shut down within six weeks.
He compares it to the Kauri dieback disease, which can also be spread through contaminated footwear.
“We’ve had experience now in understanding as a country the effects of the spreading of disease and how to mitigate it for human contact but this any sort of contacts in the primary sector. Our people who rely on the primary sector for their income and their livelihood, this is a real risk to our society,” Mr Stephens says.
Dale Stephens says one option considered by Biosecurity New Zealand in the past was to close off the connection between the North and South Islands to stop foot and mouth spreading.