TB may become bigger problem
This time of the year, councils put out their proposed annual and long term plans for consultation.
Recently mayor Jan Barnes went through the proposed LTP of MatamataPiako District Council with myself and fellow Fed chairs of Morrinsville and Te Aroha.
No major concerns were identified by us. Our policy team do scrutinise the full document before we write our submission, which we present at the council hearing.
Likewise on a regional basis, we had all the Waikato Regional councillors support their chairwoman, Paula Southgate, who presented to the Waikato Federated Farmers’ executive on their proposed LTP.
The major concern is the intention to not collect the bio-security rate.
It is a targeted rate, so only rural folk pay it, not urban people.
From a business case point of view for every $1 of this rate collected by WRC, central government puts in a further $9 for bio-security work, mainly TB vector control within the constituency.
We are getting outbreaks of TB in livestock in the constituency, the most recent being two herds in the South Waikato.
Pig offal affected by TB is an initial finding on this serious outbreak, a significant number of affected cows have already had to be slaughtered.
It is my view that this rate collection for TB control purposes needs to be continued, as livestock farming is the major industry in the constituency and obviously urban people have employment to service the farming production.
One of the alleged reasons the regional council don’t want to collect this rate, is that there is some sort of power play between Ospri/ TB Free New Zealand and Waikato Regional Council on how the job should be done. I have highlighted in real time that TB for farmers is a very serious issue.
TB is also known to be slow at manifesting itself. I believe if a weak link is allowed to develop, who will be the owner of the next herd with a debilitating TB issue.
It is a no brainer, pay $1 and get $9 top up to protect our primary farming industry.
I am sure WRC do legitimately account for its cost of administering this targeted rate, so discount that as a reason.
Matamata District Federated Farmers’ annual meeting was last week.
We need a sharemilker delegate to come forward and join our Matamata Fed executive.
Things are going to get tight for many farming families, especially those in the dairy industry, over the next 18 months.