Biosecurity ‘essential’ now
million and $870 million - to eradicate the disease, was well over and above the agreed cost share of 12 per cent outlined in the existing Government Industry Agreement (GIA), Walker said. He has been advocating for faster resolution to compensation claims and said the expectation was ‘‘another blow to the regions’’.
Prior to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s slamming on Tuesday of the previous government’s ‘‘shameful’’ under-investment in biosecurity for the disease spreading to Waikato, O’Connor hit back at National’s handling of the initial outbreak, claiming that it did ‘‘absolutely nothing’’.
‘‘They didn’t act on the incursion and they didn’t help prevent it by upgrading the Biosecurity Act or fixing the National Animal Identification and Tracing system (NAIT).
‘‘Since then we have made the difficult decisions, which is our job.
‘‘That included setting up checks at Cook Strait, starting bulk milk testing, making a tough decision to cull all infected properties, setting up a dedicated recovery team on the ground, boosting the compensation claims team, and recently funding $85 million to continue the response, with $11m of that from industry.’’
He said any option including rapid eradication, phased eradication, longterm management or stopping Government assistance ‘‘will cost money and it must be a fair deal for all’’ and also ‘‘a fair partnership’’.
‘‘We would be in a different situation today if the previous Government had not taken a hands-off approach to biosecurity. We care about the primary sector, our rural communities and New Zealand’s economy, so we are hands-on on biosecurity.’’