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FEDS raise questions re NAIT


3 September 2008

FEDS raise questions re NAIT

Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson today said the Federation has raised a number of issues regarding the National Animal Identification and Tracing ("NAIT") proposal as outlined in a recently released discussion document from the group overseeing the project.

Mr Nicolson said today, "The NAIT proposal is a significant one which would have a significant impact on farmers in terms of time, costs and compliance.

"The Federation is a very strong supporter of the objectives of having;

1. robust biosecurity systems; 2. managed and timely incursion response; 3. mechanisms that facilitate trade access; 4. producing nutritious, wholesome and safe food that meets consumer expectation 5. efficiency, productivity and innovation on farm

"Federated Farmers fully supports a large number of initiatives currently in these areas. We believe that as a country we have been successful in achieving globally recognised high standards. It is for this reason that we put considerable resource, along with other organisations, to ensuring that these objectives continue to be meet. We need to keep moving forward for the benefit of agriculture and New Zealand.

"The Federation has been a participant in the NAIT Governance Group set up to progress the NAIT proposal to date. This Group has worked hard to progress the proposal to the discussion document phase and we thank them for their efforts.

"However, now having reviewed the content of the NAIT discussion document (www.fedfarm.org.nz ) the Federation has major concerns. At this time it is not clear that the risks and marginal benefits, of a new NAIT system in addition to existing systems, exceeds the marginal costs associated with NAIT.

"Let me make it clear that the Federation sees its role as representing agricultures interests and asking questions, sometimes simple questions, that need answers. While often well intentioned, it is important that policy makers do not get "the ends" and "the means to the ends" mixed up. Just because something has a head of steam, it does not mean it should proceed if it doesn't make sense. It is for this reason that we will continue to seek answers to our questions on NAIT.

"While this process is underway, we believe that it would also be useful for involved organisations to start considering what changes, or enhancements that could or should be undertaken to existing systems that will cover the five objectives outlined above, should the NAIT project not proceed," Mr Nicolson concluded.


ENDS


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