The amendments, which were developed in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis response, include tightening up the rules around untagged animals, and increasing the penalties and infringement fees.
The focus on greater compliance activity for those not doing the right thing with their NAIT account will be supported by farmers who are doing the right thing and are getting frustrated with others letting the sector down.
The key changes are:
- persons in charge of animals' (PICAs) can only use the tags issued for their specific location. Farmers have 12 months to use up any stockpiles of tags
- the "impracticable to tag" exemption is renamed “unsafe to tag”. The need for this exemption will be reviewed in five years’ time
- a PICA must declare a movement of an unsafe to tag animal to NAIT before it is moved (rather than 48 hours before it is moved, as now). All untagged animals must be visibly marked. It is an offence to not do this
- a seller can more easily make the animal location history available to a purchaser on request. There are now no privacy issues with providing these reports.
- penalty limits have gone up to match those in the Biosecurity and Animal Products Acts. A judge can now impose a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual, and up to $200,000 for a body corporate
- infringement fees have increased. They are now similar to similar offences in the Biosecurity and Animal Products Act. $150 offences are now $400; failure to register as a PICA has gone up from $300 to $800
- it is an offence for anyone to transport untagged animals that do not have an exemption. This offence won’t apply to transport operators who are carrying a PIA declaration that the animals in the consignment are NAIT compliant. This does not come into effect for six months. In the New Year, farmers will get detailed advice on what they need to do so they have time to practice with the new system before this change is enforced.
- the Act’s purposes of holding core data now includes stock theft, wandering stock, and dead NAIT animals in a public place
- PICAs must report annually the presence and estimated numbers of non-NAIT animals at their location.
B+LNZ supports these changes to NAIT and also welcomes 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. 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.
NAIT plays a vital role in managing food safety and biosecurity risks, underpins New Zealand’s market assurances and supports the sector to meet our customer requirements.
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 DINZ, 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.
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