Funding for biosecurity and animal welfare have been given a welcome boost in Budget 2015, along with increased funding for tertiary agriculture education
Biosecurity funding will be boosed by $24.9 million over four years, in addition to $2 million of capital funding, to increase border capabilities, while animal welfare has been given an additional $10 million package over the same period.
The biosecurity investment is to help future-proof New Zealand’s syestems to deal with the constantly changing demands of modern biosecurity, says Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
“The funding will be used to expand New Zealand’s ability to detect pests and diseases, stop risk at the border and deal with risk offshore,” he says.
New biosecurity initiatives made possible by the funding include:
- Improving New Zealand’s import health standards to ensure they continue to keep pace with changing science and focus on our highest priority risks
- Greater auditing of other countries’ systems to ensure they are compliant with New Zealand’s unique biosecurity requirements
- Expanding the biosecurity detector dog capacity to manage risk at the border
- Introducing more x-ray machines to allow for faster screening of increasing passenger volumes.
“This funding will supplement the recently-launched Biosecurity 2025 project, which will provide a clear direction for the biosecurity system and identify any changes or improvements needed over the next 10 years,” says Guy.
The $10 million boost in funding for animal welfare systems will support changes in the new Animal Welfare Amendment Act, which passed into law this month, he explains. These changes have made animal welfare obligations clearer, more transparent and easier to enforce, according to the Minister.
“They will also ensure New Zealand is well placed to maintain its strong reputation and world class animal welfare system into the future.”
The new funding will go towards:
- Developing new regulations through the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
- Improving compliance and enforcement capability
- Managing the welfare of animals in a civil defence emergency.
“Our primary sector makes a critical contribution to our economy. New Zealand earns around $25 billion a year by exporting animal products such as meat, milk and wool. Our global reputation as a safe food producer depends on us continuing to produce animal products within strong animal welfare standards,” says Guy.
“Some of this funding will go towards creating targeted education that ensures the right people know what is required of them. As well as strengthening the Ministry for Primary Industry’s enforcement of animal welfare requirements, the investment will also contribute to the SPCA’s work in animal welfare. In particular, it will further support its compliance function.”
The budget also gave a 20 percent increase for tertiary agriculture education, which should help to leading more young blood into the sector.
According to tertiary education, skills and employment minister Steven Joyce, Government is: “Continuing to address the relative underfunding of higher-cost disciplines such as science and agriculture to ensure that these economically important and research-rich areas attract more investment from providers to deliver more of the skills and knowledge New Zealand needs to drive economic growth.
“We are also investing more in manifesto priorities such as engineering and Māori and Pasifika trades training,” he says.