Fanworm and clean bottoms

They’re a caustic bunch, the Parliamentary Press Gallery, and fanworm is the sort of thing they feed on. My mate David Carter today made an important announcement about biosecurity, bugs and all that stuff, and it didn’t take long before one of the hacks was showing off his prowess in the scoffing department.

He remarked that the Government is investing heaps of public money to deal with something a bloke might contract from an Italian harlot. No names, but a bloke like him probably does consort with harlots because no decent woman would share his bed (or cavort with him on the Speaker’s chair when things degenerate at the Press Gallery Christmas bash tomorrow).

The hack’s indelicacy was prompted by the announcement that Cabinet has approved funding of $3.6 million for a five-year local programme to rid Lyttelton Port of the marine pest Mediterranean fanworm.

Biosecurity Minister Hon David Carter said this action reflected the priority the Government places on providing an urgent response to biosecurity threats. He noted that:

“This worm is a highly invasive species with no known predators and it has an ability to thrive in a wide range of habitats.

“It could displace existing species and foul port structures, vessels and aquaculture farms.

“It is essential that MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) acts to rid Lyttelton Port of this pest and prevent it spreading to other high value areas.”

First-rate fellow is your David Carter, although I reckon I was better qualified for the Cabinet job he landed.

Of course, my Eketahuna readers aren’t likely to run into much fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) in their patch of the Wairarapa. It was detected in the port of Lyttelton in May through the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s targeted marine pest surveillance programme. The incursion is recent and appears to be confined to Lyttelton Port (thanks to the smart work of your Government).

Among other things, there will be a communications programme to encourage the owners of moored vessels in the area to keep their bottoms clean to avoid spreading the pest. That’s their boat bottoms, lest there be any misunderstandings in the Press Gallery.

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