Farmers not complying with NAIT will be prosecuted – Damien O’Connor

Rural Exchange 16/06/2018

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has blamed non-compliance with New Zealand’s animal tracing system for slowing down their efforts to hunt down and eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

Non-compliance, according to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, is no longer an option now.

It’s very clear, it’s in the law, people have to adhere to this.

Mr O’Connor told Rural Exchange his team is working through 23 recommendations for the often criticised National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system to make compliance easier on farmers.

“But [farmers] have to do their very best as well.”

A recent review of NAIT system is expected to toughen up enforcement, improve the user experience, and assign a NAIT number to a particular location and not a person.

Farmers who are caught with non-compliance will face a $10,000 charge, but only one person over the past seven years has been fined. They only received an infringement notice of $150.

Mr O’Connor blames the “soft message” that’s been given to farmers over the past few years over compliance. He explained that now the Government has “very clearly” informed farmers of the consequences, so they will be 100 percent to blame for future infringements.

Damien O'Connor and Jacinda Ardern at Fieldays 2018. Getty.

“I still hear almost every day of an odd incident where NAIT is not being complied with. So we will track those down and we will prosecute people to send a message.”

Mr O’Connor emphasised that complying with NAIT is the law, and there will be consequences for those who disregard it.  

“For those who are blatantly disregarding it, then we’re going to nail them.”

Watch the full interview with Damien O'Connor above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.