The government's next step in the response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis is expected to come in the next week, although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is still hopeful the cattle disease can be eradicated.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is to crack down on compliance with the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system, which is to be overhauled after officials struggled to track cattle infected with the Mycoplasma bovis disease.
The government has allocated $85 million of operating funding in the current year to deal with the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, but a looming report will likely spell out a “significant” bill, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.
Changing farms on so-called Gypsy Day, when large numbers of farmers shift stock, requires extra precaution because of Mycoplasma bovis but the Ministry for Primary Industries won't prevent animal movements beyond the 300 or so farms under some form of restriction.
New Zealand cow slaughter rates are tracking ahead of last year as the compulsory culling of cattle on properties infected with Mycoplasma bovis swells volumes, weighing on prices.
A black market in cattle sales and a lack of compliance with the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) regime by farmers is hampering the Ministry for Primary Industries' efforts to respond to Mycoplasma bovis, which is now New Zealand's largest animal surveillance issue.