Second fruit fly rings alarms in NZ

NZ officials say they've found a second fruit fly in the south Auckland neighbourhood of Otara.
NZ officials say they've found a second fruit fly in the south Auckland neighbourhood of Otara.

A Queensland fruit fly that caused a vegetable and fruit lockdown in part of New Zealand's biggest city wasn't alone, with authorities saying they've now found a second species of the pest on the other end of town.

Biosecurity alarms were raised in the Auckland suburb of Devonport over the weekend after a male Queensland fruit fly was found in a trap, with residents asked not to move produce in or out of the area.

Officials now say they've found a second unwanted fruit fly in the south Auckland neighbourhood of Otara, although of a different species.

"Two fruit flies is not an incursion," Biosecurity minsiter Damien O'Connor said on Tuesday.

"But we can't be too careful and as the response ramps up I urge the local community to be vigilant."

The pest, which has caused significant damage to Australian crops, has been discovered in New Zealand on five previous occasions, but was only once found to be breeding and eradicated in each case.

Authorities say, if established, the fly could cause significant harm to New Zealand's $NZ5.5 billion horticulture sector.

They're currently setting more traps in the area to determine if the bug is a lone specimen.

Increasing tourism, trade and climate change are all considered to be contributing to increased biosecurity risks for New Zealand's tightly guarded ecosystem.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries calls the fruit fly a "major and frequent pest".

Australian Associated Press