NZ not prepared for foot and mouth
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 6:20p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
The Auditor-General's warned the Government that there's a serious lack of preparation to fight an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, which could devastate livestock farming.
Under-investment in lab facilities and little planning for mass carcass disposal and stock vaccination is to blame.
If there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in New Zealand, similar to the British outbreak in 2001, 1 million animals would need to be slaughtered.
That would fill the equivalent of 27,000 shipping containers.
“An outbreak of foot and mouth would cost New Zealand $8 billion in the first year and $13 billion in the second year. An outbreak of foot and mouth would be disastrous for our economy,” says Labour leader David Shearer.
The Auditor-General says the Ministry for Primary Industry's plan for dealing with such an outbreak is weak.
In 1996 the country's only bio-containment lab was created as part of the animal health laboratory in Upper Hutt. But it has a life of 15 to 20 years and the risk of breakdown is increasing, and that would be a major barrier to dealing effectively with an outbreak.
The report says the high-security laboratory needs an upgrade, and crucially, it found there are no plans for carcass disposal of up to 1 million animals and no plan for the vaccination of animals.
The ministry deals with 30-40 incursions of foreign pests and organisms each year. The Auditor-General says responding taken precedence over preparation and not enough priority has been given to planning.
The ministry spent nearly $55 million in managing biosecurity risks in 2011 and 2012 – in the last year it planned to reduce costs to save almost $20 million dollars.
Labour says those in the industry likely to be affected by breaches have lost faith in the biosecurity agency's ability to protect them.
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1/03/2013 9:04:14 a.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
To think that our NZ economy is totally reliant on milk production and that our Ministry of Primary Industries has not got any vaccination, disposal of carcases and our only Bio- containment laboratory is not up to scratch snd needs some major investment at a time when the Govt has reduced their budget by $20 million to save costs is another example of a Government Department being leaderless and with no clear direction of having priorities. Again the hard working, overtaxed, overRated, diligent, struggling taxpayer is not getting good value for their tax dollar. Having plans to combat a Bee Mite or a Vine disease to save Honey & Vine fruit exports is absolutely pathetic when you compare & realise the cost to every community, city, town in NZ should we ever experience a foot & mouth epidemic. We will be all unemployed. Why are we so unprepared?
1/03/2013 12:24:32 a.m.
we're going deep sea drilling and we're not prepared for that either.
28/02/2013 7:42:45 p.m.
Time and time again, GE cowboys AgResearch have been outed for being reckless with biomaterials, and we give them tens of millions to carry on. We obviously just don't have our eye on the ball with regards to biosecurity issues. We should elect daydreamers to run the country. Oh wait we already have..
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