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The cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis continues to rampage across New Zealand with the Waikato region the latest to be declared, Waikato MP Tim van de Molen says.

“My thoughts are with the affected farmer – a young, progressive farmer who has been impacted by this disease,” Mr van de Molen says.

“He’s been open and upfront with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) throughout the process and I commend him for this.

“However, he – like so many others – is frustrated with what he feels is a lack of communication and action from MPI.

“While I encourage MPI to provide him with clear guidance as to the next steps, I understand the staff within the Ministry can only operate within the parameters given to them by their Minister.

“National has repeatedly called on Damien O’Connor to show farmers whose livelihoods have been trashed by this disease some respect by better communicating his plans for the response and ordering his officials to ensure compensation payments are full, fair and fast.

“This lack of action has left farmers – from within the Waikato region and across New Zealand - feeling unsupported and fearful for the future.

“I acknowledge that this is a difficult and challenging time for all involved but the Government and MPI needs to maintain open communication with affected stakeholders and this is currently not happening.

“It is important for farmers across the Waikato region to be aware that it has reached our community, so they need to put precautions in place – I’d encourage them to contact MPI immediately for guidance on procedures and protocols.

“I understand MPI will be holding a public information meeting in the near future, so I also encourage as many people to come along as possible and use this opportunity to find out how to respond to the incursion, and how to apply for compensation if necessary,” Mr van de Molen says.

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