More money for biosecurity, MPI support

Nitrogen fertilisers have allowed much higher stocking rates than would otherwise be possible....
The rise of M. bovis has increased the need for MPI funding. Photo: ODT files
New Zealand's primary sector received some welcome attention in Budget 2018, particularly for stronger biosecurity, farm management tools and sustainability.

Although Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor is well down the list of influence within Cabinet, the rise of Mycoplasma bovis last year and this year has meant his profile has risen substantially.

The Government's biosecurity initiatives would receive $9.3million in Budget 2018 to improve offshore biosecurity systems to better manage the risks posed by imports.

The Government's leadership would improve the resilience of the primary sector, he said.

"We moved quickly this year to put up $85million new operating funding for the frontline response to M. bovis in partnership with the primary sector."

An update on the next steps of the plan to deal with M. bovis would be made in coming weeks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to visit
affected Waikato dairy farmers today, suggesting further announcements could be made at the meeting.

The Budget also included $38million of funding over two years for the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure the sector was well supported, Mr O'Connor said.

Other announcements included a boost for a key farm management tool, called Overseer.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced $15million of new operating funding over the next four years for the Sustainable Farming Fund.


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