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Crown funding for Bovine TB measures announced

The Government is to increase its financial contribution to the national Bovine TB strategy, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The Government said its share of funding would increase to $33.5 million a year from July 1 this year, up from $20.4 million last financial year.

Mr Sutton said that as well as getting extra funding for the national Bovine TB strategy, the Animal Health Board would also be allowed to retain savings made through efficiencies, which would enable it to accelerate the vector control programme.

The Crown will fund about 50 per cent of the national Bovine TB strategy, with industry paying about 40 per cent and local councils about 10 per cent.

In a notice published in the New Zealand Gazette today, changes have been proposed to the national Bovine TB strategy, administered by the Animal Health Board. These changes include achieving "official freedom" from Bovine TB by June 2013.

Mr Sutton said this was an admirable goal, as it was possible the presence of Bovine TB in New Zealand cattle and deer herds could become a trade barrier.

"Bovine TB is present among our cattle and deer herds now. Though it is quite different from the tuberculosis which usually affects humans, there are consumer perception issues with it in some export markets and an effective TB control programme is vital to minimise that risk."

The gazette notice today drew attention to the review of the national Bovine TB strategy and the proposed changes, Mr Sutton said.

"I would encourage everyone with an interest in the area to study the Animal Health Board's proposal and to comment on it."

Copies of the review proposal can be obtained from the Animal Health Board, or on the board's website www.ahb.org.nz. Submissions should be made to the Minister of Agriculture by June 22.

ENDS

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