DINZ to pursue biosecurity agreement with government

DINZ to pursue biosecurity agreement with government

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The DINZ board has decided, following consultation with levy payers, to apply to sign the Government-Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. Assuming the minister for biosecurity Damien O'Connor accepts the industry’s application, the agreement will be signed later this year.

GIAs have been signed by many primary industries because they give them a say in whether and how the government responds to an outbreak of an exotic pest or disease. In return, each industry pays an agreed share of costs for readiness and response activities.

Industries that don’t sign won’t be guaranteed any say, but will still get billed for their share of the costs of activities for which they are deemed to benefit. It is anticipated that DINZ will sign the GIA soon after Dairy NZ and Beef+Lamb NZ.

DINZ policy manager Catharine Sayer says the GIA provides the framework for operational agreements (OAs) for cost-sharing for specific diseases. She says the livestock sector has already negotiated a draft OA for foot and mouth disease (FMD) so, together with the beef and dairy sectors’ experience of working with MPI on Mycoplasma bovis, it knows what on paper and in practice it can expect from an OA.

If the draft FMD OA is executed in its current form, DINZ would be up for $100,000 as its maximum contribution towards response costs, based on a 1% share of the benefits. DINZ chief executive Dan Coup says this would be funded from existing levy income.

“The FMD formula would not be automatically applied to other potential exotic diseases, like blue tongue or anthrax, but it sets a precedent that all participants would expect to be followed,” Coup says.

“If there was an outbreak of a chronic wasting disease (CWD) that only affects deer, the deer industry’s share of readiness and response costs could be as high as 50%. But under each OA an industry can set a cap on its contribution – the amount it believes it can afford.”

Coup says an OA for CWD is likely to be DINZ’s negotiating priority once the GIA is signed.     

Consultation with levy payers took place between 31 October and 6 December 2017. The NZDFA executive committee supported the proposal, as did the NZDFA branch chairs at their meeting in October. Responses were also received from 22 individual farmers and processors, the majority of whom supported the proposal.

More details, including arguments for and against, will be published in Deer Industry News, following the signing of the agreement.