Thursday, July 7, 2022

Infringements enhance compliance

The National Animal Identification and Traceability (NAIT) scheme has been given teeth. New regulations to encourage compliance and to protect the privacy of NAIT stakeholders took effect on January 10. They include a raft of infringements, 12 of which carry a $150 “fee”. An additional infringement, for those who do not register with the scheme, carries a $300 penalty. Another set of regulations establishes a panel to consider applications for access to the NAIT information system, providing an objective and transparent process to assess applications for data and decide them on their merits.

The highest infringement fee, of $1000, is reserved for people who do not comply with conditions set by the panel on access to, or release of, NAIT information.

The scheme, covering cattle and deer, was set up by the government as a key line of defence against the potential spread and economic impact of animal disease.
It was intended to enable authorities to respond quickly to food safety scares or biosecurity threats such as disease outbreak. It was also intended as a response to growing demands from consumers for greater traceability in the products they buy.

Legislation enacted a year ago paved the way for cattle to be brought into the scheme from July 1 last year. All people in charge of cattle have had NAIT obligations from that date.

Deer will be brought into the scheme from March 1 this year.

The new regulations were developed after public consultation and were put into effect in mid-December.

David Hayes, the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) director, preparedness and partnerships, said the infringements provided by the new regulations were just one of a number of ways to help compliance. The scheme’s focus was on education, assistance and direction.

“That approach will work with the vast majority of people,” he said.

“Infringements give us another way to enhance compliance.”

The scheme also had built-in incentives for industry because it provided direct and indirect benefits to farmers, he said.
It requires dairy farmers to:

  • Tag their animals with NAIT-approved radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
  • Get a NAIT number by registering themselves and their farms or properties with NAIT.
  • Register their animals with NAIT.
  • Record all off-farm movements of animals with NAIT.

NAIT numbers are required, as well as Animal Health Board (AHB) herd numbers or dairy participant codes.

All cattle born after July 1 last year must be tagged and recorded within 180 days of birth unless exempt (certain exemption rules apply).

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