The Government is going cap-in-hand to the primary sector seeking support to help eradicate the rapidly-spreading cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis, National’s Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“It’s my understanding that the Ministry for Primary Industries is canvassing the dairy and red meat industry for contributions to fund the response and eradication of this disease.
“In Parliament yesterday the Minister Damien O’Connor couldn’t say how much money the Government is prepared to contribute to fully eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis.
“Knowing how tight the Government’s finances are because of its other big-spending commitments – and even with financial contributions from industry – Mr O’Connor has an uphill battle convincing his Cabinet colleagues how critical funding of over $100 million actually is,” Mr Guy says.
With the Minister confirming in Parliament that 23 properties are infected, 38 are restricted and a whopping 1500 are considered ‘trace’ properties, National’s Biosecurity Spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says New Zealand farmers deserve clarity and transparency from the Government around its plans to trace and eradicate the disease.
“Farmers are already dealing with challenging conditions, given the worsening droughts in many of our regions, now the uncertainty around the Government’s plans to contain Mycoplasma Bovis is adding unfair stress to the rural sector.
“Farmers deserve to know what plans are in place to contain the spread, and the Minister needs to be more open with the information he has received.
“Damien O’Connor has confirmed that he is regularly updated by MPI on the spread of the disease so if this Government truly believes in openness and transparency, then he should share that information with our farmers.
“It is crucial that we know what plans are in place to contain and eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis. Farmers need timelines to work with but all they have is a vague indication from the MPI that it is working towards a deadline in May. This simply isn’t good enough,” Mrs Kuriger says.
National Party Spokesperson for Biosecurity Barbara Kuriger is calling on farmers to be vigilant in light of recent Mycoplasma Bovis incursions to help prevent the spread of the disease.
“The discovery of Mycoplasma Bovis in Ashburton is a strong reminder to our rural communities that we need to be increasingly watchful and report concerns to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) if there are any suspicions of a further spread of the disease,” Ms Kuriger says.
“We cannot be complacent in any rural areas. The recent confirmation in Ashburton follows cases last year in Hastings, North Otago and the Winton District.
“It is important that farmers are familiar with the symptoms of infected cattle, which tends to show when animals are under stress. The current drought conditions around the country have already put pressure on farmers and animals, so the symptoms may be more visible if the disease is present.”
To report any concerns about the Mycoplasma Bovis disease please contact the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.
National Party Spokesperson for Rural Communities Barbara Kuriger has backed the call for the Government to declare a medium scale adverse event to better support those affected by the rapidly emerging drought conditions in Taranaki.
“Taranaki Regional Council have today met with organisations such as DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Rural Advisory Group, Rural Support Trust, Taranaki Veterinary Association and Beef & Lamb NZ, with those organisations all calling on the Government to declare a medium scale adverse event for the whole Taranaki region,” Mrs Kuriger says.
“While Coastal Taranaki is of immediate concern the rest of Taranaki is likely to come under similar stress in the next few weeks, unless substantial rain falls. The situation is serious and exacerbated by the fact it is not long since these farms were waterlogged, in the most extreme change of weather patterns I have seen in my career.
“Approximately a third of dairy farms in coastal areas will need to dry-off their whole herds within the next few weeks, with more to follow.
“Everyone from farm owners to sharemilkers are beginning to come under severe financial pressure and I am also concerned about the welfare of the Taranaki people and their livestock, due to the lack of supplementary feed and feed available to be purchased.
“Without some good rain soon, I expect the strain will be felt in other areas around New Zealand and along with these rural organisations I am calling on the Government to act immediately and to support these farmers,” Mrs Kuriger says.
National Party Spokesperson for Rural Communities Barbara Kuriger has thanked the Rural Support Trust for the care and support they extend to people who are facing challenges and encourages those in need to reach out.
“This year has seen a number of challenges for the rural community. The Rural Support Trust has worked tirelessly to help support those who are in challenging times.
“The current extreme weather conditions across the country present hard times for farmers for a number of reasons, especially due to the need to source feed for animals.
“After a number of years of financial downturn, these weather conditions are adding extra pressure on families. On top of this, we have the further incursions of Mycoplasma Bovis and Myrtle Rust.
“The Trust is actively working with people from the properties where these incursions have been found and are supporting them through the actions they need to follow to minimise the spread.
“But the pressure continues to be felt, with a number of people in the rural communities having taken their own lives over the past few weeks. This is a tragedy and at this time of year when we look to be celebrating the festive season, there are families out there who are grieving for their loved ones.
“Severe weather, finances, relationships and work pressures can all mount up for those in rural communities so it is important that we all help the Rural Support Trust by taking care of each other and reaching out if we need support.
“The barbeques and community events run by the Rural Support Trust give people the opportunity to take some time to reflect together and know that they are not alone in their struggles.”
Barbara Kuriger – MP for Taranaki-King Country
Jonathan Young – MP for New Plymouth
Hon Chester Borrows – MP for Whanganui
26 January 2017
Local MPs welcome UFB expansion in TaranakiRead more