Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ Ltd) is pleased the Government has dropped several proposals to amend the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act.
“B+LNZ supports the changes to NAIT and we believe the focus on greater compliance activity for those not doing the right thing with their NAIT account will be backed by farmers who are meeting their obligations,” says Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ.
“Farmers tell us they are increasingly getting frustrated with others who are letting the sector down.
“We welcome the Government’s decision to drop a proposal for the Crown to take ownership of NAIT data on behalf of PICAs, all farmers and the wider sector.
“This data is fundamental to biosecurity and market assurances. But it also has huge potential as a way to integrate whole-of-life quality assurance into the story New Zealand tells to the world. That is why industry ownership is so important.
“We are also pleased that the proposal to remove the ‘unsafe to tag’ exemption in five years will now be a review of the exemption – the health and safety of our farmers must always be paramount.
“The increase in the penalties and infringement fees, such as the $400 fine per non-complaint animal, is significant and we understand the Ministry for Primary Industries will exercise a level of discretion and work with farmers alongside OSPRI and its stakeholders to encourage and drive greater compliance.”
NAIT plays a vital role in managing food safety and biosecurity risks, underpins New Zealand’s market assurances and supports the sector to meet customer requirements, says Mr McIvor.
“As the response to Mycoplasma bovis has found, there is a significant cost to the sector if farmers do not comply with NAIT. It’s vital farmers maintain complete and accurate NAIT records for the speedy tracing of animals and ultimately to protect everybody’s farms and the wider industry.
“A lack of complete NAIT data is also a barrier to moving towards more cost-effective, risk-based management of bovine tuberculosis.
“The robustness of the traceability system is really important for eradicating M. bovis. NAIT compliance is New Zealand law and whole-of-life traceability will be increasingly critical for beef eligibility for some premium markets.
“We understand some farmers do find using NAIT challenging, however as a shareholder in OSPRI, B+LNZ, along with DairyNZ and Deer Industry NZ, is strongly motivated to see farmers get value for levies invested. We are focused on ensuring ongoing improvements are made to NAIT to realise its potential.”