NZ Pork leads way with biosecurity agreement

NZ Pork has become the first animal-based industry to enter into a Government Industry Agreement.

At its recent annual conference, NZ Pork signed a deed for the agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response.

It followed Kiwifruit Vine Health, which was the first industry to make the commitment.

The Minister for Primary Industries attended, along with representatives from the kiwifruit body and other primary sector groups.

The deed set the legal framework for NZ Pork's biosecurity liaison with the ministry. It also gave the industry an equal voice in decision-making if an exotic disease arrived in New Zealand.

''The industry continues to have concerns about how biosecurity is being managed, but the GIA deed creates an opportunity for us to partner with Government in a very real and practical way on some priority issues,'' NZ Pork chairman and North Otago pig farmer Ian Carter said.

''This agreement gives the pork industry a place at the decision table when it comes to preparing for and managing biosecurity risks specific to our industry. This is a positive step toward sorting out a critical area for New Zealand's economy.''

The structure of the agreement showed the ministry wanted to achieve the best outcomes for the sector, he said.

''That's a significant change in their approach to working with industry. I think that's a good sign.

''The rural sector needs good working relationships with government agencies around biosecurity and other issues impacting including environmental sustainability and animal welfare.

"We really need to work together to find durable solutions for the sector,'' Mr Carter said.