The Government’s claims the Ministry for Primary Industries was under-resourced to handle the Mycoplasma Bovis incursion are patently untrue, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“First they blamed the farmers, now they’re blaming National - the Government needs to stop the blame game and get on with the response - because that’s what Governments do, and that’s what true leadership is about,” Mr Guy says.
“The line Jacinda Ardern and Damien O’Connor are peddling that MPI has been under resourced is ridiculous.
“In last year’s Budget alone, MPI received $248 million in funding – that’s the highest level it has ever received and was a boost of $18 million on the year before.
“MPI’s Chief Operating Officer said publicly last week that his Ministry was more than prepared for an incursion of this scale.
“Farmers are getting fed up with this tired blame game that Jacinda Ardern and Damien O’Connor are playing.
“Mr O’Connor has been in the job for seven months yet, instead of taking ownership of the response and rapid spread of the disease, he’s labelling farmers as greedy and blaming them for spreading it by not complying with the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system.
“Farmers are looking for certainty around the response – will it be full eradication or will it be long term management?
“I hope that this afternoon’s meeting between the Minister and industry representatives will give Mr O’Connor much-needed motivation to push hard for the necessary funds to be included in this week’s Budget, and will give farmers the much-needed answers they deserve,” Mr Guy says.