B+LNZ supports Biosecurity Act review, but care needed over new NAIT data changes

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is very supportive of the review of the Biosecurity Act announced by Minister Damien O’Connor today, though it is urging care to be taken over proposed changes to farmers’ data in the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, and encourages the government to work closely with the primary sector to get the best outcome for both farmers and New Zealand.
Friday, 19 July 2019

B+LNZ’s General Manager Policy & Advocacy Dave Harrison says biosecurity is a key concern with many farmers, especially with the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) incursion, and that the sector and government need to work together on improving New Zealand’s biosecurity systems.

“We all know the introduction of pests and diseases onto farms can be devastating, which is why the government needs to work closely with the primary sector and take a collaborative and coordinated approach to improving our traceability systems and preserving the reputation of New Zealand’s food products globally,” says Mr Harrison.

“The timing of the review is ideal to take onboard learnings from the M. bovis incursion and use these to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity defences and responses, and we’re looking forward to being an active partner in the review.”

B+LNZ is also supportive of most of the improvements the government is proposing to make to NAIT, as this will give farmers better visibility of where their stock has come from, and it also welcomes the additional clarity around ministerial oversight of the scheme.

However, B+LNZ is encouraging the government to carefully work through a proposal for the Crown to take ownership of NAIT data, and therefore private farmer data, as this was not included in the initial NAIT review.

“We can see the public interest in a robust traceability system given its crucial role in managing responses that the public contribute to.

“While most of the proposed changes are focused around improving the effectiveness of NAIT, the proposal for the Crown to take ownership of NAIT data is something that was not included in the initial NAIT review,” says Mr Harrison.

“Any changes to the ownership and use of farmer data in NAIT will need to be very carefully worked through, and we look forward to the government working closely with farmers to ensure these issues are addressed during the Select Committee process.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Communications Advisor Gwynn Compton on 027 838 6353.