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Inquiry Into Bovine TB Strategy Initiated

A board of inquiry would consider the recent proposal by the Animal Health Board to review and amend the national bovine tuberculosis strategy, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The inquiry is a requirement of the Biosecurity Act 1993 and will result in a report to the Minister.

Mr Sutton said the inquiry would clarify some key issues before amendments to the strategy were made.

"However, it seems clear that there is already agreement that an effective Bovine TB programme is vital, particularly to minimise the risk of overseas consumer resistance to New Zealand products."

People who made submissions on the proposal will shortly be advised by MAF of the opportunity to be heard by the inquiry. They will also be provided with a summary of the 94 submissions received on the Animal Health Board's proposal.

While terms of reference are yet to be prepared and inquiry members have not been appointed, it is likely that hearings will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, possibly during November 2001.

The Animal Health Board's proposal was publicly notified in May 2001 after the Government and affected industries agreed to increase financial contributions to the national Bovine TB strategy. Changes proposed include achieving "official freedom" from Bovine TB by June 2013.

>From July 1 this year, the Government share of funding Bovine TB vector control (around 50%) increased to $33.5 million a year. Industry pays for about 40 per cent of TB vector control and local councils about 10 per cent.

Mr Sutton said the Animal Health Board would be allowed to retain savings made through efficiencies, which would enable it to accelerate the vector control programme.

Copies of the review proposal can be obtained from the Animal Health Board, or on the board's website www.ahb.org.nz.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton


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