The Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme will change hands next month.
As from November 1, OSPRI will take over the day-to-day control as the programme operation moves into its next phase.
M bovis governance group independent chair Kelvan Smith said OSPRI will oversee operational and disease control functions under a contract for service.
“OSPRI’s role will include the testing of farms, managing the current active confirmed property, any newly detected farms, cleaning and disinfection and farmer support,” he said.
OSPRI brings experience in disease management and surveillance, an established regional management model for disease management, streamlined engagement and operational efficiencies with existing OSPRI programmes, NAIT and TBfree.
With natural synergies in running the M bovis programme alongside NAIT and the TBFree programme, there is potential for up to $15 million in savings across the three programmes.
The M bovis programme partners, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ, will continue to provide governance and monitor progress.
MPI will retain non-operational aspects of the programme, including compensation and any necessary compliance action.
“We believe our proposal will ensure the programme continues to adapt to the work that remains ahead and make the most of the significant gains made to date.”
By combining resources and capability, it will allow the programme to continue to adapt to the work that remains ahead and help strengthen NZ’s biosecurity system.
Farmers should not experience too much change because of the handover, Smith said.
“We expect farmers to notice very little difference from current operations and the existing Government Industry Agreement (GIA) between MPI, DairyNZ and B+LNZ remains in place until a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) is approved and established.”
Consultation on an NPMP recently closed with some good submissions from farmers.
“We have received submissions that are largely supportive of the proposal and the next step is to analyse and consider the feedback and update the draft proposal as appropriate.
“It is expected the final proposal will be submitted to the government in early 2024.
“We are planning for the NPMP to be in place by mid next year, subject to approval.”
Meanwhile Smith said the programme continues to perform well.
“The number of infected properties has fallen to very low levels and the major activity of the programme will be national surveillance of NZ’s cattle herd.
“This makes now the right time to look where we can start capitalising on the identified efficiencies and ensure all the partners, DairyNZ, BLNZ and the government, are receiving value for their investment.”
Farmers should not be affected by the move and the M bovis levies will not increase, Smith said.
The M bovis programme currently has one active confirmed property and over time has cleared 280 properties, paying out compensation of more than $250 million across almost 3000 claims.