Biosecurity New Zealand has directed a vehicle carrier to leave New Zealand waters following the discovery of stink bugs and other regulated pests.
NAIT has been widely criticised, notably by Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard, who says the system is clunky and doesn’t interface with his own database which contains all the information NAIT needs.
Smith says MPI will change this because if a regulation is too hard to comply with people may not comply.
“I understand that when a farmer comes in at 11pm after a hard day on the farm and must then sit down at a laptop and enter NAIT data this can be frustrating and probably not ideal.”
Time spent unnecessarily in an office typing in numbers affects productivity; a system is needed that works well for everyone, Smith says.
The first task is to act on the review of NAIT by getting a better system up and running in the short term; they also need to better educate farmers about the reasons for NAIT.
“Then we must step back and look at NAIT and what it might be like in the next five to ten years. The technology is changing: there are better internet connections and wand readers.
“We must look at technology solutions and make it easier.”
NAIT needs redesigning so that one set of data can shared across a number of systems, Smith says.
A steady stream of farmers visited MPI’s Fieldays site seeking information about M.bovis. They wanted to know more about the disease and were stepping up their efforts to improve their farm biosecurity.
“Our job is to help and advise them to run a biosecurity system that protects their farm.”