A recent review of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the livestock sector were unprepared to tackle a large scale response.
Rotorua dairy farmer, Ian Francis Bell, 69, was fined $3,364 for not registering 424 cattle. The court sentenced Bell after he pleaded guilty to nine representative infringement offence charges of failing to register cattle.
In another recent prosecution, Michael John Power, 55, a farmer from Lawrence, Otago, was fined $3,000 for failing to register 149 NAIT deer. Power was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court last month.
Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) national manager, animal welfare and NAIT compliance group, Gray Harrison says NAIT rules are an important part of New Zealand's biosecurity system.
"This importance is reflected in amendments to penalties in the NAIT Act, which have increased the maximum penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 for future prosecutions.
"We certainly take it very seriously. Our ability to trace cattle and deer through the NAIT system is a critical factor in managing biosecurity threats which could have a devastating impact on New Zealand's agricultural sector.”
MPI has now secured eight successful prosecutions under the (NAIT) scheme, with another eight prosecutions currently before the court.
At the time of the offending, Bell was in charge of 700 dairy cattle and 40 calves on his farm in Reporoa, Bay of Plenty. The charges relate to offending that occurred between January and November 2019, when Bell moved 424 unregistered cattle. The cattle were NAIT tagged, however, they were not registered against his NAIT location prior to their movement.
In Power’s case, the deer were at a farm in Roxburgh (Central Otago). Power sent the animals from that NAIT location to meat company, Alliance Group. The deer were all tagged but not registered against his NAIT location prior to their movement.