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Auditor-General report sets the right direction

28 February 2013

Auditor-General report sets the right direction

Federated Farmers welcomes the audit by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) on the Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity preparedness and response activities, particularly relating to Food and Mouth (FMD) disease.

“This is an important and timely report given FMD would not only cripple pastoral farming, but it would hit almost every New Zealander in their pocket,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“We were first contacted by the OAG in 2011 and participated in their initial research.

“The pastoral farming sector itself has been proactive in coming together to deal with weaknesses we identified with FMD response planning.

“This coincided with Government legislating for ‘Government Industry Agreements,’ where biosecurity responsibility will be shared with industry.

“Understandably the pastoral sector wishes to have an equitable voice in preparedness planning and if the worst should happen, its execution.

“In such an event there would be unprecedented need for expertise and ‘feet on the ground’. This is what the pastoral sector is able to provide along with organisation and communication.

“We feel there is a real willingness from the most senior levels of the Ministry to effect a cultural change and this OAG report reinforces that point of view.

“This Audit does show there is a lot of work to be done but the direction is quite clear,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

ends

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