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Agriculture And Biosecurity Funding Increased

Increased funding for the agriculture and biosecurity portfolios marks a decisive reversal of a long-term downward trend and means that new programmes can be funded, existing programmes can be expanded, and some programmes killed off by the previous Government can be revived, Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

"The deadly erosion of MAF's baseline funding was seriously threatening the ability of the key land-based industries to maximise their future contribution to the nation's economic welfare."

Mr Sutton said the Government was to put in $24.7m1 of extra funding into the national Bovine TB strategy, bringing the Crown contribution to $33.2m from July 1 this year.

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

"Bovine TB is present among our cattle and deer herds. 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."

Mr Sutton said funding for measures to prevent any importation of foot and mouth disease and a public awareness campaign would continue, starting at $4.6m this financial year and continuing with $0.1m increases in later financial years.

"MAF's work against foot and mouth disease is an ongoing mission. This Government is serious about enhancing our border controls and biosecurity measures."

Another project to receive funding in the Budget is a greenhouse gas inventory, to be carried out by MAF, which will estimate the effect of methane emissions from animals on greenhouse gas levels. Although New Zealand only has a small percentage of the world's ruminant farm animals, we are unique among developed economies in having flatulent farm animals contributing a major proportion of our total greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding is also being allocated to cope with the extra workload of work surrounding the proposed dairy industry mega-merger.

Mr Sutton said that in all, more than $30m of extra funding would be spent on agriculture and biosecurity each year over the next four years because of
decisions made in this year's Budget.

Ends


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