Different biosecurity levy for dairy farmers

John Loughlin
MIA chairman John Loughlin.

New Zealand’s dairy farmers are to be charged a higher share for tuberculosis (TB) eradication when sending stock for meat processing.

New Zealand’s meat processors have for some years collected a single uniform biosecurity levy on beef and dairy cattle to pay for the costs of TB eradication. However, following a review last year the Government and DairyNZ have agreed dairy farmers will pay for a greater share of the contribution to TB eradication via a differential levy paid on dairy cattle at meat processors.

This differential levy was opposed by meat processors as they believed it was contrary to good public policy for costs to be charged at the point of production where they do not arise, explains MIA chairman John Loughlin. The meat industry’s preference would have been for costs to have been met through a charge on dairy production, rather than through a complex system of differentiating dairy and beef cattle at meat processing, he says, adding that the move also adds extra costs for meat processors, which would not have been incurred if the increase was made to the existing dairy levy.

“Nevertheless, meat processors recognise the importance to New Zealand of eradicating TB and wishes to be constructive. So it has accepted the requests of Government and DairyNZ that it impose a differential levy on dairy farmers.”

The Ministry for Primary Industries will shortly promulgate the regulations to give effect to the new biosecurity levy, which will be imposed on dairy cattle from 1 August 2016.

If any farmers have concerns about the application of the levy when the cattle are slaughtered, they should contact OSPRI at 0800 482 463.

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