Govt putting the boot into National over cattle disease spread

Author
Newstalk ZB Staff,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 January 2018, 9:54AM
Mycoplasma bovis has been found at 14 farms across New Zealand and farmers are worried. (Photo \ Devyn Staines)

The new Minister for Agriculture is is putting the boot into the last government over the spread of Mycoplasma bovis.

The cattle bacteria's now been found on 14 farms, all but one in the South Island. The latest farm to test positive is in Ashburton. 

Agriculture Minister Damian O'Connor told Tim Dower farmers who haven't been following necessary precautions have been let off.

READ MORE: MPI frustrated with farmers' complacency over disease spread

"Well if I can be perfectly blunt, I think that the National government was reluctant to offend any of their constituent farmers and climb into this."

MPI is encouraging farmers to attend public meetings today at the Methven Heritage Centre at 11 o'clock this morning, and at the Ashburton Hotel at 6.30pm.

The first hour will be spent discussing a milk testing programme, and the second focusing on the disease itself.

Dairy NZ chief executive Tim Mackle says as many farmers as possible should head along.

"Because this latest positive result of M.bovis, the 14th farm I think at this point, it does raise a lot more questions and concerns from farmers."

Mackle says one of the things being discussed is milk testing, which he understands is being scaled up. 

"It's a really good way to try and get a handle on where this disease is, and where it's not. To date, the bulk milk testing that has been going on has shown some results."

LISTEN ABOVE AS DAMIEN O'CONNOR SPEAKS WITH TIM DOWER

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