Cattle disease in Waikato
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is blaming the previous National government’s ‘‘shameful’’ underinvestment in biosecurity for Mycoplasma bovis spreading to Waikato.
The Ministry for Primary industries confirmed a Cambridge farm had tested positive for the cattle disease on May 14, lifting the total number of farms with the disease to 39 nationwide.
Ardern said New Zealand’s animal traceability scheme National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait), which was designed to record the movement of cattle and deer, had ‘‘failed abysmally’’.
Farming was such a significant sector in New Zealand and stronger biosecurity protection should already be in place.
Ardern said the Government had not given up eradicating the disease.
It is the first time a farm in Waikato had tested positive for the disease. The infected farm was identified through the tracing of cattle movements from other infected properties.O¯
Biosecurity New Zealand’s director of response Geoff Gwyn, said it was not a huge surprise, given the number of farms the organisation was uncovering that have received cows and calves from affected farms.
‘‘This response is serving to underline just how much movement takes place and it is this, coupled with poor record keeping through Nait that is making our job very challenging.’’
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis urged farmers to take care and communicate with their transport operators or graziers when moving cattle to prevent the disease from spreading.