Package to help with bovis recovery

The Government remains confident the Mycoplasma bovis phased eradication programme is on track....
The Government remains confident the Mycoplasma bovis phased eradication programme is on track. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
A recovery package has been announced to help farmers affected by Mycoplasma bovis  get back to business quicker after being cleared of the disease.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor during a visit to a Wairarapa beef farm yesterday.

The package, rolled out by the Ministry for Primary Industries and response partners DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, included a compensation assistance team put together by the two industry bodies. The team,  comprising rural professionals who understand both farming and the compensation process, will  work with farmers on their claims. The $400,000 cost was funded through the response.

An improved, simplified compensation form and guide was set to be released this week, while an online tool for farmers to easily estimate their milk production losses, to speed up compensation claims, will  soon be released.

MPI has completed training 80 Rural Support Trust members to provide welfare support, while the regional centres in Invercargill, Oamaru, Ashburton and Hamilton will  each have a regional recovery manager in addition to the acute recovery team.

In May, Ms Ardern announced $886 million would be spent on the phased eradication of M. bovis.

More than 150,000 cattle would be culled in what was a world-first bid to eradicate the disease.

In a statement yesterday, Mr O’Connor said the response was making good progress. The Government remained confident eradication was on-track and there was "a good chance" of success.

It was important to remember  confirmation of newly-identified properties did not mean the disease was spreading. It meant historically infected cattle and milk movements were being traced, many of which occurred before the disease was  discovered, he said.

So far, 43,004 animals have been culled, 36 properties have had their  infected property status removed and 298 properties have been released from all movement controls.

There were currently 32 infected properties in the South Island, and six in the North Island, 51 in the South Island under Restricted Place Notices and eight in the North Island, 152 under Notice of Direction in the South Island and 59 in the North Island, and 283 properties under assessment in the South Island and 60 in the North Island.

A total of  387 compensation claims were  received by MPI, of which 169 have been completed or  part payments made. The value of claims assessed was $35.5 million, and the value of claims paid totalled $25.6 million. There were 20 claims pending payment.

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