|Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today set out a recovery package to help farmers get back to business more quickly after being cleared of Mycoplasma bovis.
“I know it’s been an extremely tough time for many farmers,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Losing herds, pets and years of stock genetics built up over decades is an incredible hit to take for New Zealand’s one shot to protect our national herd and economic base.
“For those families whose farms have been cleared of Mycoplasma bovis, restocking marks an important turning point – it allows them to begin moving forward again.
“The Government remains committed to phased eradication, which is progressing well, and to helping farmers get back to business,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The recovery package, rolled out by the Ministry for Primary Industries and response partners DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ, includes:
· DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ Compensation Assistance Team
o DairyNZ and Beef + LambNZ have put together a team of rural professionals who understand both farming and the compensation process who can sit down and work with farmers on their claims. The $400,000 cost is funded through the response.
· Improved compensation form and guide
o Set to be released this week, the simplified form will be easier to follow and the supporting guide will make clear what documents need to be submitted to ensure prompt payment of compensation claims.
· Online milk production losses calculation tool
o An online tool for farmers to easily estimate their milk production losses, to speed up compensation claims, will shortly be released.
· Rural Support Trust boost
o MPI has now completed training 80 Rural Support Trust members to provide crucial welfare support.
· Regional Recovery Managers, in addition to the Acute Recovery Team
o The Regional Centres in Invercargill, Oamaru, Ashburton and Hamilton will each have a regional recovery manager. They are being nominated and seconded by DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ and will help farmers develop a tailor-made recovery plan.
Ms Ardern and Mr O’Connor made the announcement on Bryce and Julie Stevenson’s beef farm in Wairarapa as the couple restock after eradicating Mycoplasma bovis.
Mr O’Connor says the response is making good progress in its world-first eradication attempt.
“Today places a spotlight on the resilience of our primary sectors and those who work in them, with the focus on support for farmers who are helping to rebuild the national herd to full strength,” Damien O’Connor said.
“It’s important to remember that confirmation of newly identified properties does not mean the disease is spreading. It means we are tracing historically infected cattle and milk movements, many of which occurred before the disease had been discovered.
“Working closely with our farming industry partners, the Government remains confident eradication is on-track and we have a good chance of success. I thank all farmers who have helped get us to this point,” Damien O’Connor said.
Of New Zealand’s 24,000 farms, 74 have been infected to date with 36 subsequently destocked and cleared of Mycoplasma bovis.