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Palm kernel ship denied entry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/10/2016

A ship with unregistered palm kernel extract on board will not be allowed to offload its cargo in New Zealand.

The MV Molat, which is carrying more than 23,000 tonnes of PKE, has been moored off the Tauranga coast since September 6 after it was refused permission to dock when some of the cargo was found to have come from an unregistered facility in Malaysia.

The Ministry of Primary Industries says it has turned down an application from the importer to have the cargo treated here.

"My decision ensures that potentially contaminated PKE will not enter New Zealand," said MPI's Steven Gilbert.

He said the decision came after it looked at the quantity of PKE, the availability of heat treatment facilities in the region, transport and storage.

"We spent a lot of time assessing whether there was a solution that would meet biosecurity requirements, but unfortunately nothing ticks all the boxes in terms of mitigating the risk of pests and diseases entering New Zealand," he said.

The ministry requires PKE to be heat treated at 85C before importation and facilities have to be approved and regularly audited.

PKE is a by-product of the palm oil industry, which is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia.

New Zealand is currently the largest importer of PKE, using about a quarter of the world's supply each year as supplementary feed for livestock.

Federated Farmers said the ministry was right to refuse the unverified cargo.

"If the paperwork is wrong, then the shipment cannot be accepted into the country," said biosecurity spokesman Guy Wigley.

"In the end it was up to the importer to fix the mistake they made, without putting our nation at risk. This is the best solution for New Zealand."

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