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Microchipping spotlight shifts to the Greens

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 16 June 2006

Microchipping spotlight shifts to the Greens

An exemption for working farm dogs from the microchipping regime, which kicks in on 1 July, is now dependent on the Greens, according to United Future's agriculture spokesperson, Gordon Copeland.

This follows the defeat in Parliament (by a vote of 61 to 60) of an attempt by the Greens, with the support of National, to overturn the microchipping regime in its entirety.

"United Future voted to retain the microchipping regime but I will seek an amendment to the Bill next week to exempt working farm dogs," said Mr Copeland.

"I have received a formal response from the Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, Associate Minister of Local Government, to say that the Government will not support an amendment to exempt working farm dogs.

"Likewise NZ First have, informally, communicated their continuing opposition to such an exemption.

"Since National, the Maori Party, United Future and Act look likely to support efforts to exempt working farm dogs (David Carter of National will also move a similar amendment) the balance of power on this issue now lies with the Greens.

"United Future believes that a strong case exists to exempt working farm dogs and we have put that case to the Greens for further consideration.

"This includes making it clear that farmers will be encouraged to microchip in the dog's own interest and I believe many farmers will quickly catch on to that and act accordingly.

"Many farmers are now microchipping their stock and if a couple of non-microchipped working farm dogs get put down because they have lost their collar, then I suspect that farmers will quickly choose the voluntary microchipping option which my amendment will offer to them.

"At the end of the day, the removal of the compulsion contained in the present Act may, paradoxically, be the key to seeing working farm dogs microchipped.

"Meantime, a little gentle lobbying by farmers of the Green party might help," said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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