Ministry defends Mbovis compo speed
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.’’