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Lockyer Valley mayor spitting chips over Kiwi spud invasion

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones calls for a united stand against New Zealand potato imports.
Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones calls for a united stand against New Zealand potato imports.

FEDERAL Government moves to allow potatoes to be imported from New Zealand have the potential to decimate a $300 million a year industry in the Lockyer Valley, Mayor Steve Jones claims.

Cr Jones said it would be totally irresponsible to allow potatoes from NZ into Australia especially given the problems  had in controlling zebra chip disease.

"The disease wiped $130 million off the New Zealand potato industry and we simply can't risk allowing potatoes from New Zealand into Australia and potentially into the Lockyer Valley," he said.

"While New Zealand is starting to get the disease under control, not enough is known about it for authorities to give an iron clad guarantee that it wont spread to the Lockyer Valley and that's a risk that I'm not prepared to take.

"This disease which turns starch into sugar, spreads very quickly and doesn't just target potatoes but other vegetables including tomatoes. 

"The Lockyer Valley supplies over 90 per cent of Australia's vegetables during winter so it's not just the Lockyer Valley at risk, but the entire country."

Should the government lift a 20-year ban on potato imports from New Zealand?

This poll ended on 07 December 2012.

Current Results

Yes

14%

No

85%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Cr Jones said too much was at risk to lift a 20-year ban on potato imports from New Zealand.

"We need to stand united as one community and lobby our Federal MP's to keep the potato ban in place," he said.

"We've already seen what has happened with fire ants. Despite all the assurances in the world that everything was being done to ensure the ants didn't get to the Lockyer Valley, here they are.

"We can't let the same happen with zebra chip disease."

Topics:  lockyer valley regional council mayor steve jones


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