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MP Seeks Claification for Farmers

OPINION: The Kiwi No 8 wire can-do attitude and rural community spirit is at its best in the face of adversity.

The dairy farming community is struggling to come to terms with mycoplasma bovis (M. Bovis) and the Government’s decision to eradicate the disease but much uncertainty remains.

We all recognise what implications it will have on affected farmers and last week I attended a meeting at Kakaramea along with 200 others including farmers, families, friends and agents from Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ and Beef & Lamb who, in the absence of MPI, relayed information about the importance of tagging, tracking and recording stock movement.

The locals are concerned about the lack of certainty and clarity around disclosure of infected farms and stock. MPI’s priority of non-disclosure on the origin of infected stock and farms over and above containment of the spread of disease was concerning. So much so that I made a commitment to my local rural South Taranaki constituents that I would challenge MPI and Minister O’Connor to seek expert legal opinion and advice from the Privacy Commissioner.

Immediately after the meeting I shared those concerns with former Minister of Agriculture Nathan Guy, National’s spokesperson for Agriculture/MPI, and Barbara Kuriger, our spokesperson for Rural Communities and we’ll recommend to Minister O’Connor he get legal opinion, and certainty, on these issues.

*On a slightly different note, I attended the 30-year celebration concert of the TSB Community Trust. Last year the TSB Community Trust distributed $11 million among 670 Taranaki organisations, that’s $105 per head of population for Taranaki. The funding is targeted to improve the wellbeing of young people and wha¯nau. The TSB Community Trust is investing in the future of Taranaki for our children and grandchildren.

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