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Keep Dairying's Genetics Database In NZ

Dairy Farmers of New Zealand (DFNZ) believe the outputs of the Dairy Industry's genetics database are an industry good and should not be owned by the Livestock Improvement Corporation as proposed in the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill.

In a submission to the Primary Production Committee, DFNZ Chairman Charlie Pedersen, said it was common sense to protect New Zealand's intellectual property. "The database, developed by several generations of New Zealand dairy farmers is the envy of all other dairying nations and must not be put at risk."

"Overlapping ownership and access with the service provision of the database must be avoided at all cost because of the conflicts of interest they would involve" said Mr Pedersen. "Separating the ownership of the database outputs from service provision would achieve the desired result without the need for the heavy controls proposed by the Bill."

DFNZ is also pushing for an environment which encourages contestable herd testing without any requirements to meet database needs. Database needs should be funded by Industry Good Inc. There is already a trend among large herd owners away from herd testing on an annual basis and DFNZ believe the Bill is not meeting their need for a cheaper, less comprehensive system.

Mr Pedersen told the committee that the Minister is not the most appropriate authority to undertake the role of determining new market access quota rights.

"DFNZ propose the establishment of an independent body to allocate Quota entitlements," said Mr Pedersen " Government would still maintain ownership of the quota rights but an independent body should handle their allocation."

"Such a body would provide a beneficial level of political independence in the commercially lucrative quota allocation process. It would also ensure that all dairy farmers in New Zealand benefit regardless of which company they supplied."

DFNZ believe dairy farmers should not have to pay an application fee when asking the Commerce Commission to resolve a dispute with the new Co-op.

Mr Pedersen told the committee that it is vital that the Shareholders' Council have substantial endorsement in the Bill. He called for the Bill to be amended to include a requirement that the new Co-op must have a Shareholder Council and that the Council be protected by an entrenched provision in the constitution of the new Co-op.

Mr Pedersen concluded that the Bill is steering the dairy industry in the right direction. Its provisions are basically sound but requires some fine-tuning before the dairy industry can achieve the top performance that it promises.

ENDS


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