Min­istry de­fends Mbo­vis compo speed

The Southland Times - - NEWS -

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries is re­as­sur­ing farm­ers af­fected by My­coplasma bo­vis it is mov­ing as fast as pos­si­ble to process com­pen­sa­tion claims.

Thirty prop­er­ties have tested pos­i­tive for the cat­tle dis­ease and last month the min­istry de­cided to cull 22,000 cat­tle from them.

Min­istry di­rec­tor of re­sponse Ge­off Gwyn said the min­istry had yet to re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion claims re­lat­ing to that culling de­ci­sion.

‘‘How­ever, we are aware some farm­ers are ner­vous about com­pen­sa­tion time frames and I would like to pro­vide re­as­sur­ance that we are run­ning as fast and ef­fi­cient a process as pos­si­ble.

‘‘We have, of course, been deal­ing with com­pen­sa­tion claims through­out this re­sponse, and I think both MPI and the in­dus­try have learnt a lot that will make the process more ef­fi­cient.’’

So far the min­istry had re­ceived 85 M bo­vis-re­lated claims since the dis­ease was found in July last year.

The value of ex­ist­ing claims was just un­der $6 mil­lion.

The min­istry has paid out $2.5m in com­pen­sa­tion so far, with a fur­ther $1.5m ex­pected to be paid within the next fort­night – bring­ing the to­tal to just over $4m. The re­main­ing claims would be set­tled as soon as pos­si­ble.

It would con­sider mak­ing part pay­ments to farm­ers of in­fected prop­er­ties who were re­quired to cull their en­tire herd.

Gwyn said the min­istry was in­creas­ing staffing in its com­pen­sa­tion team to process claims so it was able to cope when claims for the 22,000 culled an­i­mals came through.

‘‘We un­der­stand that while there was some re­lief at the di­rec­tion to de­pop­u­late IPs [in­fected prop­er­ties], some farm­ers will in­evitably worry about how long the com­pen­sa­tion process could take. And yes, it can be a com­plex and time-con­sum­ing process be­cause we are talk­ing about pub­lic money.

‘‘How­ever, we’d like to re­as­sure farm­ers that we are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to help them get back on their feet as soon as pos­si­ble, while tak­ing ev­ery step nec­es­sary to fairly ad­min­is­trate the com­pen­sa­tion scheme.’’

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