Minister for Food Safety David Bennett met with Dr Penny Lukito, the chairwoman of Indonesia’s National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) this morning.
BPOM is one of Indonesia’s five main regulators for food safety, animal health, and plant health.
It is responsible for the regulation and product safety testing of all processed foods, both domestic and imported.
“Meetings like this are important to ensuring that both agencies are aware of the goals each are working towards within their country’s food safety systems, a key tool underpinning agricultural trade,” Mr Bennett says.
BPOM and Ministry for Primary Industries signed a Food Safety Agreement in 2014 which promotes cooperation on food safety, particularly as it relates to management of risk and trade in processed food products.
“Indonesia’s demand for imported food with changing dietary habits, including milk, yoghurt, red meat, cheese and baby foods.
“New Zealand needs to have a good working relationship on all levels, but especially at a food safety level to ensure we can meet their needs, and expand our export markets.
“Next year will mark 60 years of diplomatic relationships with the two countries and it’s always positive to continue to solidify the relationship,” Mr Bennett says
Photo: Minister Bennett with Dr Lukito this morning.
Race courses can harness safety with the $1 million Racing Safety Development Fund, the Minister for Racing David Bennett has announced.
Applications for the fund, which has been operating for ten years, opens on 2 August, with the money divvied out over two funding rounds.
“Racecourses are an important part of communities across New Zealand, so it’s important we help ensure the health and safety aspects,” Mr Bennett says.
“The fund benefits clubs and racing bodies across the country.
“Projects have included improvements for safety running rails, irrigation and drainage, lighting upgrades, and grandstand repairs,” Mr Bennett says.
“This includes the health and safety of the racing animals, riders, spectators, officials, and others involved in racing,” he says.
“All racing clubs and racing code bodies consider the condition and standard of their facilities and equipment, and assess whether they are safe for animals, staff, and customers.”
All racing clubs and code bodies may apply for funding. New Zealand has about 150 active racing clubs and 70 racecourses. The Development Fund covers up to half the costs of a project with between $7,500 – and $50,000 funding being available for each project.
On-line applications must be submitted by 27 September 2017.
Further information is available from: www.communitymatters.govt.nz
Thank you Mark, for your introduction and thank you Agcarm, for the invitation to join the 70th Annual Conference. It is a pleasure to be here.
Let me acknowledge Kirk Hope, Business NZ’s chief executive, Sir Mark Soloman - Canterbury District Health Board’s chairman, Dr Helen Darling, the director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Food Integrity, and Mike Chapman – HortNZ’s chief executive.
Thank you to your President, Mark Christie, the representatives on your Board and your Chief Executive, Mark Ross.
Agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines, or ACVM, play an important role. Their use is essential to address animal welfare and to produce safe and suitable food we can sell with confidence in New Zealand and overseas.
Farmers and food producers around New Zealand depend on them to:improve the quantity and quality of their produce; keep people, animals and crops healthy; and reduce the spread of diseases, weeds, parasites and other pests.
This conference is about discovering, discussing and advocating for the plant and animal science industries. It is a credit to New Zealand that Agcarm has existed for the past 70 years. It is a vitally important component to our agricultural industry which at $37 billion export value, is the engine room of New Zealand’s economy.
ACVM is a key tool in propelling this industry forward. And you are all a part of ensuring we are at the forefront of world-wide innovation.
In the Food Safety sector we embrace science and technology like ACVM. Tools like ACVM, and strong regulations allow New Zealand to have one of the best food safety systems in the world. Strong regulations are imperative for our trading partners to trust in New Zealand and its produce. It’s important to capitalise on the trust, and encourage producers and exporters to take tools, like traceability, and start using them in conjunction with intangibles as the ultimate value add. We need to draw on aspects, like New Zealand’s clean, green and pure image to get premium price for our high quality exports.
All primary industry sectors - and the public - recognise the importance of having regulatory oversight of the ACVM products in use by farmers and growers.
Appropriate regulation ensures ACVM products are effective, while ensuring there is no harm to people, animals, plants and the environment. It also ensures any residues that occur in food are not a food safety concern.
But the regulation of the ACVM system needs to be balanced:an under-regulated industry could jeopardise the credibility of our systems and our food safety reputation which are essential for our consumers and trading partners’ confidence. an overly prescriptive framework could stifle innovation, resulting in fewer options to manage pests and disease, reduced investment in research and development and higher costs to produce food.
Our current regulatory system works well, aligns with international standards and is highly regarded by our trading partners. But to remain at the forefront, we must take every opportunity to make improvements to ensure we have the balance right.
The government is making it easier for companies to bring innovative agricultural products to the New Zealand market.
We have recently changed the law to extend data protection arrangements. This is in recognition that developing the data required to register a product can be costly. With greater certainty about being able to recoup costs, businesses are more likely to invest in research and register new products or new uses in New Zealand.
We encourage industry to make use these of these extended protections. In particular, to help bring new innovative products for use on our minor crops and minor animal species.
MPI is nearing completion of a review of their ACVM registration processes to help simplify the process for business and improve timeframes and risk management practices. MPI will continue to work proactively with industry to deliver a more efficient and mutually beneficial system.
MPI has identified potential changes to the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations which could be made in the short-term.
These changes will provide clarity and confidence for manufacturers of products, and provide greater scope for product exemptions. They will also reflect updated knowledge of risk around some product groups.
We encourage Agcarm and their members to get involved at the public consultation stage.
The world in which we operate is continually changing. Greater market emphasis on food safety and the increasing complexity of global supply chains are posing new challenges and opportunities.
Consumers, retailers and trading partners want more information and higher standards around how their food is produced. They want proof of the integrity of products and a full account of every input used.
The Government works hard to ensure our food safety system is one of the best in the world. As well as regulating the use of certain chemicals, we carry out a range of monitoring activities, including regular testing of food.
Our testing results confirm that for the most part, good agricultural practices are being followed in the use of ACVM products. This indicates that current controls conform to both consumer expectations and international regulatory requirements.
These good results are the product of the agriculture chemical industry, government and farmers all working hard to do their bit:Government – in setting the appropriate rules and regulations; ACVM product manufacturers – in the correct manufacturing and labelling of their products; and Farmers – in the correct use of these products.
Advances in chemical and microbiological testing of food are continuously being improved and becoming available to commercial laboratories. MPI is embracing these new technologies.
MPI is also working with multiple international forums, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to reinforce sound science as a basis for trade.
The recent session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission endorsed a New Zealand-initiated work proposal to develop an internationally harmonised approach to address chemicals inadvertently present in food at low levels.
Internationally harmonised guidelines will be important to prevent any potential trade issues and enable us to adopt new technologies and innovative farming practices to address the challenges of climate change, sustainable development and protection of the environment.
Scientific breakthroughs and technical advances are creating opportunities for the primary industries to improve the use of ACVM products to support greater environmental management, such as the use of bio-pesticides to improve pest and disease control. They are also creating opportunities to grow new value-add products such as low-THC hemp milk.
The challenge for the New Zealand primary industries will be how they can access these technologies. Agcarm has a critical role to play here.
The Government is supporting the development of new or innovative products
The Government recognises uptake of new technologies may be inhibited by low levels of investment. Therefore, we are investing heavily in long-term innovation programmes in partnership with industry.
MPI and industry have committed investment of around $759 million in 22 programmes through the Primary Growth Partnership. These programmes are creating new products, increasing health and wellbeing of the primary industries workforce and reducing environmental impacts.
MPI and industry are also jointly investing in research to improve food safety through the Food Safety Science and Research Centre, which we launched last year. The Centre has been set up to deliver science and research across the supply and value chains, from farm to plate, in order for New Zealand to continue to ensure the highest levels of food safety.
Biosecurity will be important for the future use of ACVM products. We are working to ensure we retain a strong biosecurity system in New Zealand. This work will include looking at the key issue of how to maintain social licence for the use of products like pesticides, as well as a focus on how to improve the uptake of innovative new tools.
Turning finally to partnership, it’s important to highlight the benefits of cooperation between the Government and the private sector to solve important issues, such as antimicrobial resistance.
My colleague – Dr Jonathan Coleman – Minister of Health, and I, have been working with Ministry of Primary Industries and Ministry of Health to implement the Anti-microbial resistance action plan.
The action plan uses a range of strategies to manage AMR, including surveillance and monitoring activities, and regulatory oversight of antimicrobials in animals and plants. It will also improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance, improve infection prevention and better control the transmission of microorganisms.
The AMR plan was tabled earlier this year at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, and is being released in New Zealand for implementation.
It is a culmination of work from agriculture, human and animal health sectors, addressing infections becoming resistant to antibiotic, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal medications after misuse.
As a major food producer and exporter, New Zealand must manage this risk for animals and plants effectively.
The plan is an important and exciting step forward in protecting Kiwis, their livelihoods and addressing a global issue – mircobials becoming resistant to medication,
Thank you Agcarm for your contributions in the management of AMR including your support for the AMR work programme.
Another example is in Bee Health. New Zealand relies on bees. The honey bee is an important pollinator for pastoral, arable and horticulture production. Bees pollinate crops that are worth at least NZ$4.5 billion annually to New Zealand’s economy and our honey exports reached $223 million in 2015.
The Government is committed to better understanding bee health. We have invested $500,000 to conduct the first ever comprehensive three-year survey of bee health in New Zealand. The study will benchmark the prevalence and incidence of viruses, bacteria, fungal spores and parasites in New Zealand apiaries.
This programme is developing new tools for MPI and beekeepers to respond to threats in apiculture.
The Government is taking action to get baseline information on the health of our honey bee colonies. MPI has contracted Landcare Research to annually survey New Zealand's managed honey bee colonies from 2015 to 2017.
A partnership between, Agcarm and Apiculture New Zealand launched a campaign in September 2016 to increase awareness of the importance of keeping bees safe by using agrichemicals responsibly. I commend this and encourage Agcarm to continue in its campaign.
Agcarm is one of the founders of the Agrecovery rural recycling programme established in 2006.
Agrecovery collects unwanted agrichemicals and recycle empty containers and drums. Containers are collected from more than 70 sites across New Zealand.
The brand owners that distribute agrichemical, animal health and dairy hygiene products into the New Zealand market take responsibility for the disposal of these products and their packaging.
Since 2007, more than 1.5 tonnes of plastic containers have been recycled and, since 2009, nearly 100,000 kilograms of chemicals have been recovered. This is an impressive result.
Delivering food that is safe and suitable remains the cornerstone of New Zealand’s food safety system. The Government is continually adapting and strengthening our food safety system to make sure it continues to be amongst the best in the world.
The Government is working hard to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens for business, provide clarity and flexibility in regulations and support innovation and changes from science and technology.
Industry has a big role to play in supporting these objectives and we encourage you to use the extended data protection we have recently provided in the ACVM Act to bring more innovative and sustainable products into New Zealand – particularly for our minor species and minor crops.
Keep working on the product partnership front – your work in rural recovery and recycling of chemicals and in bee health is paying dividends. We look forward to working together further on managing antimicrobial resistance.
Thank you for your ongoing contribution to Government processes. We are committed to continue working with you.
Thank you again for inviting me to speak here this morning. Have an enjoyable and enlightening 70th conference.
There is extra financial support for some veterans and their families coming into effect today, says Minister for Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett.
Veterans receiving lump-sum payments for suffering a service-related permanent impairment and families receiving child care payments for children of a deceased veteran whose death was service-related, under Scheme Two of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 are amongst those seeing an increase on July 1.
“The increase ensures the veteran, or family, is not disadvantaged as living costs increase,” Mr Bennett says.
It applies to all people receiving Scheme Two entitlements under the Veterans Support Act 2014.
Scheme Two provides entitlements for veterans with qualifying operational service performed on or after 1 April 1974, and their partners, children and dependents. It provides entitlements based on those provided by ACC, and Veterans’ Affairs pays a top-up where they are also eligible for ACC cover.
“This increase is about doing what’s right for those who have served New Zealand,” says Mr Bennett.
The following entitlements rise by 2.17 percent in line with the increase in the CPI.Lump sum payment for a veteran with a service-related permanent impairment. The Survivors Grant for a deceased veteran’s spouse/partner, children and dependants, where death was service-related. Child Care payments for children of a deceased veteran where death was service-related.
For those veterans receiving the minimum weekly compensation because they are unable to return to work due to a service-related injury or illness, increase by 1.6 percent in line with the Labour Cost Index.
“Veterans receiving minimum weekly entitlements under scheme two of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 will get around an extra $18 in their pockets a week,” Mr Bennett says.
Note to editors
The rate of Weekly Compensation is based on the veteran’s pre-injury earnings. The minimum rate of Weekly Compensation will increase on 1 July to keep in line with 80% of the average wage.
Minister for Racing David Bennett has appointed Bill Birnie to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB).
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Bill Birnie to the NZRB. Mr Birnie brings a lot of corporate governance experience and will add value to the NZRB,” Mr Bennett says.
The purpose of the NZRB is to oversee the racing industry and the TAB, which has a $2.7 billion turnover a year, and returns over $150 million to New Zealand racing and sports each year. The seven-member board is made up of four independent members, including the Chair, who are appointed by the Government, and three code representatives nominated by the Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound racing codes.
Mr Birnie, an investment banker by trade and former solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, has also held positions on several boards, including NZ Screen Commission, the Hilary Commission, High Performance Sport NZ, Sport New Zealand, NZ Film Commission, NZ Warriors Ltd and Play It Strange, amongst many others.
Mr Birnie’s three year tenure begins on 23 June 2017.
“I would like to thank outgoing board member Barry Brown for his contributions to the NZRB and industry over the past three years. Mr Brown is passionate about the industry and we thank him for his commitment to racing,” Mr Bennett says.
Two students have tied for first place in the Passchendaele multi-media competition, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett announced.
Wellington’s Neakiry Kivi and Tauranga’s Amanda Yang were the two year 13 students to jointly take out this year’s Battle of Passchendaele Multi-media Competition.
Neakiry, from Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, submitted an original piano composition entitled “Scenes from Passchendaele”. Amanda from Tauranga Girls’ College, submitted a poem entitled “Passchendaele 12 October 1917”.
“Both entries encapsulate ‘then and now’ – a battlefield from 1917 becomes a place of remembrance for all New Zealanders, who will commemorate the losses as part of the centenary commemorations in October,” Mr Bennett says.
“The entries, whilst different, succinctly capture the personal way in which New Zealanders remember the horrors of 1917, ensuring that we will never forget the sacrifices made on one of our darkest days in New Zealand’s history.”
Both winners will receive a $2,000 contribution towards their ongoing education and a place as a New Zealand Youth Ambassador at the Battle of Passchendaele centenary commemorations in Belgium in October.
The Battle of Passchendaele multi-media competition, facilitated by Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, was launched in 2011 as a way of ensuring that New Zealand’s sacrifice on the Western Front was not forgotten, and that New Zealand’s young people continue to be aware of the heroism that took place in the fields of Belgium.
Minister of Food Safety David Bennett has appointed Teresa Ciprian to the Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) board.
“I am pleased someone of Ms Ciprian’s calibre is representing New Zealand on the board. Ms Ciprian has a broad background which includes food safety, food regulation and international trade and a technical background in food science,” Mr Bennett says.
From 1998 to 2010 Ms Ciprian held several positions at French multi-national company Danone, including Global Marketing Director for Functional Beverages, Director of Business Development in the Dairy Division Worldwide, and Marketing Director for New Ventures. Ms Ciprian is a director on three other boards: Zespri Ltd, Firstlight Foods, and ASPEQ Ltd.
Ms Ciprian is one of three New Zealanders on the trans-Tasman board. FSANZ was established to administer joint food standards governed by a statutory board of 12 people from New Zealand and Australia.
“Her strengths include being able to balance the key drivers to grow a food business and the need for effective regulation.
“She also has business experience in diverse international markets and cultures. These elements will all provide greater insight to the board, which propell our two nations Food Safety regulations forward,” Mr Bennett says.
“Food Safety is one of the foundations to drive the value of New Zealand food exports, so it’s important we have the best, brightest and most innovative people representing us at the highest levels. Ms Ciprian is that,” Mr Bennett says.
Ms Cirprian is appointed to the board from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021. She is replacing Tony Newell who spent two terms on FSANZ.
Professor Ron Paterson has been appointed to lead an independent review of the operation of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett announced today.
“This review will ensure an external and impartial perspective on how the Act is working”, says Mr Bennett.
“I am pleased that somebody of Professor Paterson’s calibre has agreed to lead this important review”.
Professor Paterson is a respected Professor of Law at Auckland University, and a former Health and Disability Commissioner and Ombudsman. He has law degrees from Auckland and Oxford Universities, and has held Fulbright and Harkness Fellowships. Professor Paterson was awarded an ONZM for services to health in 2011.
“The Veterans’ Support Act 2014 is very different from the Act it replaced - the War Pensions Act 1954.
“It is important to ensure the Act is operating as intended and to consider if any amendments are necessary or desirable. The findings will be reported back to Government,” Mr Bennett says.
The review will look at whether it is meeting its purpose of providing rehabilitation and support to veterans who have been injured or become ill as a result of being placed in harm’s way in the service of New Zealand.
“The Government is committed to ensuring veterans receive the care they need, when they need it,” Mr Bennett says.
Details of the submissions process are on the New Zealand Defence Force website http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/corporate-documents/vsa, including when and where public forums will be held. You can email the Review at firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been a 33 per cent increase in uptake of Veterans Independence Programmes (VIP) over the past year, Veterans’ Affairs Minister David Bennett says.
The VIP enables New Zealand veterans to live independently in their homes
It can help with the cost of house and window cleaning, lawn mowing and garden maintenance, home care, medical alarms, podiatry and home alterations.
“Veterans fought for New Zealand’s independence and now the country can assist in providing for their independence,” Mr Bennett says.
“It is a positive step forward that the veterans, who sacrificed so much for our country, are now being assisted by Veterans’ Affairs,” Mr Bennett says.
Almost 3,500 veterans and spouses were receiving VIP services at the end of April 2017.
“That’s an increase of 33 per cent more veterans accessing 7000 individual services over 12 months,” Mr Bennett says.
“The Government introduced this package in the Veterans Support Act 2014 to further enable those who have enabled our country, so we are pleased veterans are taking up the support,” Mr Bennett says.
Veterans and their families who wish to know more about what services they are entitled to, can find out more information here: www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz/support/treatment-independence/vip/
An upgrade to Dunedin’s racecourse ambulance track is amongst the 19 projects the Government has recently contributed towards in racecourse safety, Racing Minister David Bennett announced today.
The various projects, which spanned from Whangarei to Roxburgh, received $313,055 in grants towards improving racecourse safety from the Racing Safety Development Fund.
Projects across New Zealand included track resurfacing, equine pool upgrades, and building construction to help make racecourses safer.
“Racecourses are an integral part of both urban and rural New Zealand communities. The Government is doing its bit by investing in safety,” Mr Bennett says.
“The fund plays an important role in supporting the safety of the racing industry for horses, dogs, staff and the wider public. In many areas these facilities are widely used by the community, and not just on race days,” Mr Bennett says.
The fund, which is managed by Internal Affairs provides $1 million annually to racecourse safety over two funding rounds.
There are two funding rounds every financial year, this is the second round for 2016/2017. The next round opens for applications on 15 August 2017 for six weeks.
“I would encourage all clubs and code bodies to apply to the fund for needed safety improvement assistance.
“A safer racecourse is a better racecourse,” Mr Bennett says.
Attached: Summary of successful applications
Media contact: Audrey Malone 021 191 9568