Red meat farmers urged to have their say on NAIT improvements

Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture
Damien O'Connor.

Work to strengthen New Zealand’s animal tracing system ramps up today and Beef + Lamb NZ is encouraging red meat farmers to have their say.

“The National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT)scheme should have worked better during the Mycoplasma bovis response and I’m determined to help transform it into an easy-to-use, world-class traceability system to keep our primary sectors and economy safe,” says Minister of Biosecurity Damien O’Connor.

“From today, everyone who has an interest in NAIT can have a say on proposed ways to strengthen it for the future.

“Earlier this year the long-awaited NAIT Review found a variety of flaws in the system and more than half of users were not recording farm-to-farm movements.

“We instructed OSPRI to crack on with making operational changes and fixed the NAIT Act 2012 under urgency to bring its search and inspection powers in line with other Acts to ensure compliance officers can do their jobs.

“Now we need to hear from those who use NAIT every day to tell us what changes to the law will make the system both a useful business tool and effective biosecurity tool.

“At the heart of these proposals is a shared desire by the Government, farming industries and all New Zealanders to improve NAIT to keep our primary sectors safe and ensure those blatantly disregarding the rules and putting the rest of the sector at risk are penalised,” O’Connor says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries launched the regulatory consultation this morning at a technical briefing for farming and industry stakeholders.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand encourages farmers to have their say

Sam McIvor
Sam McIvor is encouraging sheep and beef farmers to have their say in the NAIT consultations.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is encouraging farmers to have their say in the NAIT consultation. Chief executive Sam McIvor says sheep and beef farmers know improvements to New Zealand’s animal traceability systems need to be made and it’s important that farmers make sure that any changes deliver benefits and are workable on farm.

“We’re all aware that changes need to be made to NAIT and while Beef + Lamb New Zealand is supportive of many of the proposals being consulted on, any changes must be practical for farmers to implement.”

An example of this is MPI’s interest in whether other species – for instance sheep – should be included in the scheme, and B+LNZ is urging caution on this.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand and farmers want to see improved traceability systems for all livestock, and we’ve been advocating for this for some time. The NAIT scheme has been designed to allow the inclusion of other species at different levels, recognising that individual eartagging is not the most appropriate way to include all species, for example sheep.

“The important thing in a biosecurity emergency is to rapidly understand where livestock farms are and which ones have been moving stock to each other. Making Animal Status Declarations (ASDs), which farmers already use for all movements, electronic (eASDs) would deliver a similar benefit,” says McIvor.

B+LNZ is developing advice on the proposals to assist farmers in writing their own submissions. The organisation will also survey farmers to help inform B+LNZ’s own submission on the NAIT consultation.

The NAIT consultation looks at ways to tighten rules around handling untagged animals, improve the use of data, and align penalties with other Acts to reflect the seriousness of non-compliance with NAIT. It also discusses longer term improvements such as including other species and specifying roles for transporters and stock agents.

Read more and submit at www.mpi.govt.nz/NAITconsultation by 19 December 2018.

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