Saturday, December 2, 2023

New HQ proposed for M bovis battle

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Views sought on proposal to move eradication effort to new home in OSPRI.
Farmers and rural groups directly affected by M bovis will notice very little difference under the proposed model.
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Farmers are encouraged to have their say as the Mycoplasma bovis partners propose to move the disease eradication programme from the Ministry for Primary Industries to OSPRI. MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand are seeking farmers’ views on a proposed National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) as the cross-sector effort moves to a new phase that is expected create savings and efficiencies for farmers.  

M bovis Governance Group independent chair Kelvan Smith said all evidence indicates the programme is now in the tail end of the outbreak.

This means the focus is now on building evidence that M bovis is not present, rather than tracing risk events associated with active infection in the national herd, Smith said.

“With no active confirmed infection in NZ we have made good progress, but it hasn’t been easy getting here. 

“The three partners recognise this and want to ensure that the ongoing activity causes minimal disruption to farmers.”

OSPRI is nominated as the management agency in the NPMP proposal. 

“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. 

“We all know how crucial the NAIT system is for the timely tracing of cattle that may have been in contact with infected cattle, and the programme can achieve efficiencies by aligning some aspects of M bovis testing alongside TB testing.” 

Combining resources and capability would allow the programme to continue to adapt to the work that remains ahead and help strengthen NZ’s biosecurity system, Smith said.

While the current administrative model has worked well, providing the necessary support and resources to get to the present status, Smith said having the next few years focused on background surveillance, a different model and some different capability is required to ensure the industry is getting the best value for the taxpayer and farmer levy payers. 

It is expected that farmers and rural groups directly affected by M bovis will notice very little difference under the proposed model, but programme partners are seeking feedback on some key changes.

These changes include the establishment of a National Plan, with OSPRI appointed as the agency to administer the programme and manage disease to achieve eradication; formalising disease control activities through a set of 15 rules to support the eradication objective; and a new reduced National Plan levy to finance the remainder of the programme. 

The NPMP opens for consultation on August 14 and runs until September 25.

Feedback on the draft proposal is being sought from the public, especially from those who play an important part in the ongoing success of the eradication effort including farmers, meat and dairy processors, testing labs and vets. 

The full NPMP proposal and more information including how to make a submission can be found on the MPI website Administration of the Mycoplasma bovis Eradication Programme | NZ Government (

The M bovis programme currently has no active confirmed properties and over time has cleared 280 properties, paying out compensation of $256.2 million across 2901 claims.

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