The news that mattered this morning: M.Bovis' in Waikato; New Gaza uprising; ZTE relief

Cattle in a pen. Photo by Lynn Grieveson.

Here is the news that mattered this morning in New Zealand's political economy, including news M.Bovis has spread into the heart of the country's biggest dairy region,

Into dairy's heart - The Ministry for Primary Industries announced cows on a farm near Cambridge in the Waikato had tested positive for Mycoplasma Bovis, taking the number of infected properties around the country to 39.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor told me the Government and the industry now faced a decision by June 1 (a key day for moving stock known as Gypsy Day) over whether to continue to try to eradicate the disease by culling stock on affected properties, or whether to try to manage the spread of the disease. He has said the outbreak could cost up to $1 billion and has pointed the finger at widespread non-compliance with the NAIT electronic tagging scheme designed to trace stock.

NAIT was originally set up under the previous Labour Government, but implemented under National. There were no prosecutions and little policing of the scheme under National. A review launched in 2016 was only released in full in April and included 18 recommendations to improve compliance.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern blamed the spread of the disease on poor systems, processes and biosecurity investment under the previous Government. "This Government is having to pick up the pieces of significant neglect and under-investment and quite frankly it's shameful," Ardern told her post-cabinet news conference.

"There was a system in place that has failed abysmally, and now we're picking up the pieces of that," Ardern said, adding the NAIT system was now in the Government's sights.

Deadly protests - Israeli troops fired on Palestinians who rushed at the border fence separating Gaza and Israel overnight, killing 52 and wounding 2,400 as protests build against America's establishment of its embassy in Jerusalem. ( Reuters )

Trade non-war? - The US Commerce Department confirmed it was exploring alternative ways to punish China's ZTE for breaching Iranian and North Korean sanctions after US President Donald Trump said yesterday he wanted to help China's President Xi Jingping save ZTE from collapse because of US sanctions. Trump's U-turn surprised everyone and raised hopes that a trade war between America and China would not worsen. US stocks rose on those hopes overnight. ( Reuters )