Farmers are bracing for a major animal rights campaign against their winter grazing practices.
Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says all the available domestic and international scientific expertise will be used to track and eradicate the disease.
“This investment will enable us to address the bigger picture scientific challenge and research new tools in the fight against the disease.
“No other country has attempted eradication, and our farming systems are unique, so there are questions that have never been adequately explored by scientists.”
At the top of the list of priorities will be developing a single animal test.
O’Connor says this help provide greater clarity to affected farmers, and help the industry to understand the spread of the disease and to focus efforts where they are most needed.
The work will be overseen by a Ministry for Primary Industries’ led Strategic Science Advisory Group.
“The group will work on ensuring we have the tools we need to better manage and understand the disease, so we can be faster, more efficient and more effective in our response to it,’ says O’Connor.
Newly-appointed MPI departmental science adviser, Dr John Roche, will assemble and lead the group, which will include both international and domestic scientific expertise.
Roche has a PhD in ruminant nutrition from the National University of Ireland and has most recently worked as a principal scientist at DairyNZ and adjunct professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland.