Tougher NAIT rules in force

Tougher NAIT rules in force

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Amendments to the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) Act, passed under urgency in parliament last week, are designed to make the NAIT system more effective.

DINZ chief executive Dan Coup says NAIT was set-up to enable the movements of cattle and deer between properties to be tracked accurately and quickly.

“This information is essential for stemming an animal disease outbreak or finding the source of contamination, if animal products are found to have unacceptable chemical residues. It’s about protecting farmers’ livelihoods, so it’s really important for deer, beef and dairy farmers to comply with NAIT rules.”

The tracking of cattle with the disease Mycoplasma bovis revealed that the NAIT scheme was not working properly. This was because some farmers failed to register cattle movements with NAIT and there was too little being done to enforce compliance with NAIT requirements. 

The NAIT Act has now been amended to allow for inspections of farms without a warrant, animal movement requirements have been clarified, and it is now an offence not to record animal movements.  

NZDFA chair John Somerville says the Mp bovis outbreak has shown that both farmers and MPI have been at fault. He says that when any new regulatory scheme is set up, farmers need to be encouraged to comply and the regulators need to do checks to ensure compliance is taking place.

“It is disappointing that MPI has swung from not auditing stock movements to getting the legislative power to search farmers’ properties without warrants. Before going to this extreme they could have tried using the powers they already had.”

Primary industries minister Damien O’Connor says since getting the NAIT Review in April, MPI has stepped up compliance activities. “There have been hundreds of on-farm checks, compliance warnings, stock truck checks and 39 infringement notices – compared with one in the previous five years,” he said.

 “[The] legislation marks another meaningful step in bolstering NAIT. We are already implementing nearly two dozen changes that don’t require legislative change, and will revisit NAIT legislation again in coming months after consulting on more changes, including making NAIT easier to use.”

For detailed information about the NAIT changes, check the home page of the Ospri website. Advice to farmers is expected to be posted on the site in the next day or two.