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Mycoplasma bovis eradication is making substantial progress

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister
MP for Mt Albert

Hon Damien O’Connor

Minister for Biosecurity

17 December 2018



Experts say Mycoplasma bovis eradication is making substantial progress

International experts are impressed by New Zealand’s efforts to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis and are more confident the campaign is working, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor said today.

Currently there are 32 active infected properties and 51 have been cleared of the disease.

“We have received feedback from the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that shows the eradication response is making substantial progress,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The TAG is more optimistic than six months ago, having confirmed that evidence shows we are currently dealing with a single and relatively recent incursion from late 2015-early 2016.

“The response started nearly 18 months ago and as the Coalition Government and the farming industry learns more about the disease, processes may change, but at this stage I have confidence the approach we are taking to eradicate is the right one and we remain committed to this,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Two testing programmes to work out the spread of M. bovis in New Zealand have returned no undetected clusters of disease.

The Spring bulk milk testing programme on all 11,300 dairy farms has identified only three infected properties that were already part of the tracing programme and to date there have been no positive test results in the beef calf rearing survey.

Damien O’Connor says everyone is stepping up in all aspects of biosecurity.

“There has been a 20 per cent increase in use of the national animal tracing system NAIT over the past year and 27 new NAIT compliance officers are out in the field working with farmers.

“Last week the Government took action to crack down on livestock rustling by proposing two new offences to the Crimes Act because we recognise the multiple risks this presents to the rural sector.

“While the numbers and the TAG’s draft report are promising, it doesn’t lessen the effects felt by those caught up in the M. bovis outbreak.

“Since we announced the M. bovis recovery package two months ago the Welfare and Recovery team has been boosted to 36 people.

“There are now 22 people working on the Dairy NZ and Beef+Lamb NZ Compensation Assistance Team. So far they have helped at least 180 farmers with their compensation needs, with almost $37 million in compensation paid to farmers to date.

“It is in everyone’s interests to work through the more complex situations promptly, particularly during the next two years where we do the heavy lifting, followed by several years of surveillance.

“Based on all the evidence presented to us, we are confident that eradication is possible and that we are on track in what’s a world first but necessary action to preserve the value of our national herd and economic base.

“Thank you to the 350 people working on this response, our farmers, their communities, and the industry groups contributing to the eradication of Mycoplasma bovis,” Damien O’Connor said.


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