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Has the horse bolted on NAIT asks FEDs


23 September 2008

Has the horse bolted on NAIT asks FEDs.

Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson today said the media release on NAIT suggests that perhaps the horse has bolted on decisions about whether NAIT proceeds or not. This follows a media release from NAIT this afternoon, prior to the NAIT governance meetings this evening and tomorrow.

“The farming community has just been though a process where the government rammed through the ill though through “ETS” (Emissions Trading Scheme Act). Rural people don’t deserve for the same to happen with NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing). Surely we can do better than that.

“We need to work this issue through carefully. NAIT should not just be railroaded without proper scrutiny. The NAIT proposal is a significant one which would have a significant impact on farmers in terms of time, costs and compliance.

“Today’s media release from NAIT suggests that the formal consultation has been completed. Perhaps this is a typo as undertakings have been given by the NAIT Chair in writing which have yet to be met, so the formal consultation has not been completed with Federated Farmers.

“The release also suggests that electronic tracing of cattle and deer under NAIT is expected to be a regulatory requirement by mid 2011. This suggests that a decision has been made and any “consultation” is simply backfilling, rather than a genuine attempt to work through valid issues that farmers have.

“This is disappointing. However the federation does want good outcomes in terms of robust biosecurity systems, managed and timely incursion response, mechanisms that facilitate trade access; producing nutritious, wholesome and safe food that meets consumer expectation; efficiency, productivity and innovation on farm. 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.

“While often well intentioned, it is was 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. And we look forward to working with the NAIT Chair to organise direct discussions with farmers, Mr Nicolson concluded.

Go to the federations NAIT web page at


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