Foot mats were rolled out at Auckland Airport containing chemicals that kill foot and mouth disease.
It’s targeting footwear because the virus can survive on shoes for up to 24 hours.
“We’ve obviously got to maintain the economy in New Zealand, we’ve got to protect our farming community,” Biosecurity NZ northern regional commissioner Mike Inglis said.
“We’ve all got to work together to make sure we keep foot and mouth disease out.”
Outbreaks of the virus, which affects cloven-hoofed animals like cows, pigs, deer and sheep have been detected in China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
And now it’s closer to home.
Fragments of it have now been discovered across the ditch.
“We’re in constant dialogue with our Australian colleagues,” Inglis said.
Infected dried pork products imported to Australia from China have been seized along with beef that a traveller from Indonesia failed to declare.
“The pork floss and the beef product did not contain live virus but they do contain viral fragments,” Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said.
We don’t have any direct flights from Indonesia to New Zealand, but regardless, every arrival card is examined and passengers from countries that have foot and mouth are directed to a different process of baggage search and disinfection.
“The fact that it’s found in Bali is a key concern for us simply because it’s a tourist destination,” Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard said.
The Government is providing protective equipment, disinfectant and backpack sprays to Indonesia.
A new awareness campaign will target travellers coming into New Zealand and officials are on the ground there making sure palm kernel – used as animal feed here – isn’t compromised.
The impacts if the disease gets into New Zealand would be devastating.
“It could shut down our export markets overnight, some of our key export markets like China and the US, and those markets are worth about $50 billion a year,” ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby said.
Another virus we’re trying to stamp out at the border.