Government, primary industries agree on biosecurity deed

The Government has approved an agreement with primary industries which will see it collaborate and share the costs of preparing plans to prevent or fight any biosecurity incursion.

The Government Industry Agreements (GIA) deed, which was developed by a joint industry and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) working group, was approved by the Cabinet in December, after protracted discussion, negotiation, submissions and reviews.

The deed outlines the principles for the formal Government-industry partnerships and the commitments that each signatory must makes.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the deed would give industries a direct say in managing biosecurity risk''Biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and it needs everyone to be on board,'' Mr Guy said.

Under the agreements, the Government will make a 20% contribution towards costs, and MPI and industry will share the remaining 80% of costs.

Horticulture New Zealand president Julian Raine said it had been a difficult process for all parties, at times, but now growers could feel they could contribute as equal partners to biosecurity decisions.

However, not all of the grower groups would be happy about having to share costs, he said.

''Some of our affiliated product groups will agree, some won't.

''It is a decision that each of them will need to discuss with their growers.

''The main thing is there is now the opportunity to get a seat at the decision-making table and some parts of horticulture have been calling for this for a long time,'' Mr Raine said.

Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesman William Rolleston said GIAs gave primary industry groups a ''seat at the table'' when decisions were being made.

''Biosecurity is ultimately a team effort. It is not about it being 100% the Government's job and nor is it 100% the primary industries' job either.''

Exporters were rarely those responsible for bringing pests or diseases into the country and the Government's contribution was recognition of that, Dr Rolleston said.

Cost-sharing for both planning and preparation as well as fighting an outbreak will be phased in beginning in July, with industries required to pay the full share of costs for readiness in 2020 and response costs in 2023.

Members of the working group included representatives from the Meat Industry Association, Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ, NZ Kiwifruit Growers, Dairy NZ, the Forest Owners Association and the poultry and egg industries.