Federated Farmers cautious on new 'search and surveillance' legislation

Rural Exchange 18/08/2018

Amendments passed under urgency on Thursday have changed the game for cracking down on farmer compliance with the country’s animal tracing system.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are now allowed to search properties they believe aren’t complying with the tracing system, which has caused privacy concerns among farmers.

Agriculture Minister Damian O'Connor says the changes were made to fix a technical error that had previously been overlooked, enabling MPI to increase NAIT compliance.

However, some farmers are concerned that these changes will also allow the government unprecedented policing of their properties, in a way that no other industry has to deal with.

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne said the organisation is still unsure why exactly MPI needs strengthened search powers.

Speaking to RadioLIVE, Ms Milne says it would’ve been better to dedicate time on consultation, rather than rush the changes through and risk mistakes.

"There's concern that when you do quick legislation, it can, unfortunately, be poor legislation."

While Ms Milne admitted that the new legislation could help MPI with Mycoplasma bovis eradication, there are still some questions around the civil liberties being taken, which Federated Farmers has yet to discuss with the Government. 

Watch the full interview with Katie Milne 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.