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.
Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has announced the election by Caucus of National’s three Whips, with Barbara Kuriger today elected Senior Whip, Matt Doocey Junior Whip and Tim van de Molen Third Whip.
“These three MPs have an important role to play in helping ensure the efforts of all 56 National MPs are focused on holding this Government to account and coming up with the plans and policies to take New Zealand forward.
“They have a big job. The National Party caucus is Parliament’s largest and it is brimming with energy and enthusiasm and a willingness to work in the best interests of New Zealand.
“It must also be disciplined and focused and represent our communities effectively.
“Ensuring that strength and talent is taking New Zealand forward is my focus as Leader and I am delighted to have these three strong MPs elected to play an important role in that.
“Our three Whips will help ensure the National Party earns the trust of New Zealanders and the right to govern in their interests in 2020.”