Hawke’s Bay has been in the midst of a significant Tuberculosis (TB) outbreak for some time and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has been slow to act, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“Despite OSPRI confirming an outbreak in Hawke’s Bay in April last year, a disease management response wasn’t put in place until October.
“Since then there has been more positive tests and from the 1st of March this year one third of Hawke’s Bay will be under stock movement controls.
“Damien O’Connor still describes it as a ‘small outbreak’, but the Chief Executive of OSPRI has confirmed that the Stock Movement Control being put in place is the largest in Hawke's Bay history.
“TB is a devastating disease and it is important outbreak responses are timely and thorough. The Minister has not been across the details and this is concerning when considering the seriousness of the issue.
“New Zealand has been working towards eradicating TB for decades and the last National Government invested heavily in achieving this, with an extra $69.8 million of funding provided in 2016 and the Predator Free 2050 plan kicked off, which would prevent pests like possums and ferrets spreading the disease.
“Responses like this need to be fronted quickly for the sake of our valuable beef and dairy sector. The Minister needs to be across his portfolio and ensure these issues don’t sneak past him.”