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Bovine TB slaughter levy increases

Media Statement
2 September 2001

Bovine TB slaughter levy increases


The maximum rate of the cattle slaughter levy will rise from tomorrow (September 3), Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said he supported a proposal from the Animal Health Board to increase the maximum rate of the cattle slaughter levy to fund bovine tuberculosis control.

An amendment to the biosecurity order providing for the cattle slaughter levy was notified in the Gazette on 2 August 2001. The maximum allowable rate of levy has increased from $10 per head to $15 per head on adult cattle slaughtered in licensed premises. The Animal Health Board will collect $14+GST per head from 3 September 2001.

The Animal Health Board, the management agency for the national TB strategy, is an incorporated society. Its members include organisations representing the collective interests of beef, dairy and deer farmers, and local government.

Mr Sutton said the extra funding from the levy would allow the board to implement an expansion of possum control programmes to eradicate TB from cattle and deer herds.

"Despite excellent progress in reducing the number of infected herds in recent years, the TB problem has continued to expand into previously clear areas, especially in Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Tasman and Nelson."

"Because possums spread TB, the expansion of possum control operations is urgently needed to reverse this trend."

The increase in the levy follows government agreement to increase funding for AHB operations to around $33.5 million (GST inclusive) per year from 1 July 2001.

The New Zealand Dairy Board and New Zealand Game Industry Board also agreed to increase their funding for TB control from 1 July.

Mr Sutton said he had given careful consideration to farmer submissions before agreeing to the levy increase.

"I am aware there is some opposition to the new maximum rate of levy, especially from TB free areas such as Northland. But TB exposes all cattle and deer farmers in New Zealand to the risk of losing high value overseas markets for their products. Therefore, for the time being, I consider that the industry share funding should be raised on a national rather than a regional basis."

Mr Sutton said a board of inquiry would be appointed soon to consider the significant issues in the Animal Health Board's new strategy.

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.


ENDS


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