Restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables on Auckland’s North Shore have been lifted by Biosecurity New Zealand, following a six-month period without detection of fruit fly.
The move signals the end of an almost year-long operation, including a massive effort by the community, with Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson, Cath Duthie, urging the community to remain vigilant for any signs of fruit fly.
"It's now been six months since a fly was last trapped in the area, and this, along with an intensive baiting programme throughout the spring and the inspection of hundreds of kilos of fruit without a find, has given us confidence there is currently no breeding population of the Queensland fruit fly in Northcote,” said Duthie.
"We can once again declare that New Zealand is free of the Queensland fruit fly,” she added.
Biosecurity minister Damien O'Connor said getting to this point wouldn't have been possible without the support of the North Shore community.
"This has been a really long haul for this community and I'd personally like to pass on a big thanks to each and every North Shore resident. The 11 months of movement controls were a big disruption for (everyone involved), but necessary to contain any potential population of this insect pest which, if it established here, would significantly damage New Zealand's horticulture industry and home gardens,” noted O’Connor.
Duthie added the controlled area was now lifted and there are no longer restrictions on moving fruit, vegetables and green waste. The biosecurity wheelie bins that have dotted the neighbourhood will now be removed and road signs will be dismantled.
The total cost of the programme is estimated to cost NZ$18m, which Duthie said was a sound investment, when stacked up against New Zealand’s “multi-billion dollar horticulture industry”.