NZ catches 14 fruit flies in a year at a cost of $18M
Auckland's fruit fly response has come in just under budget, at nearly NZ$18m (US$12). With just 14 flies caught, that's just under NZ$1.3m (US$800,000) per fly.
It's the largest fruit fly operation ever — as it's likely to be more expensive than the similar-length 2015 Queensland fruit fly response in the Grey Lynn area, which cost NZ$15.7 million.
But, horticulture industry leaders say, if the pest established itself here the New Zealand economy would lose billions.
The first was found in Devonport on Feb. 14 last year. A further 11 were found in Northcote between February and July. There have been no further sightings.
Elsewhere, three Facialis Fruit Flies, which came from Tonga, were found in Ōtara in traps between February and March. These discoveries alone cost just over NZ$500,000.
Biosecurity New Zealand spokeswoman Dr Catherine Duthie says within the next week the final trap checks will be done.
There are just over 1,300 fruit fly traps across Auckland to check, with 162 in the specific response Controlled Area in Northcote.
"If we don't find anything in that check, we'll be wrapping up the response soon afterwards," she was quoted as saying.
If the Queensland fruit fly established itself on New Zealand shores it would jeopardize a horticulture industry worth upwards of NZ$5bn a year in domestic sales and exports.
Some 80% of New Zealand's horticulture crops are susceptible to attack by the pest, including the kiwifruit industry — which is worth about NZ$2 billion a year.
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