2 Mar 2018

MPI faces $100m bill over cattle disease

4:34 pm on 2 March 2018

The Ministry for Primary Industries looks set to face a $100 million bill for the crippling cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

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Photo: Supplied

This was revealed in evidence by the Ministry yesterday to Parliament's Primary Productions Select Committee.

Over $60m of that would be paid under compensation arrangements for farmers whose livelihoods were affected by the disease.

So far, $2.6m has been paid out.

There have been 51 claims for compensation made and 10 farmers have been paid out in part or in full.

The Ministry told the select committee operating costs in fighting the disease were $35m.

As of Wednesday, there were 25 infected farms, with the disease spread from Southland to Hawke's Bay, while other farms face restrictions.

The government is still gathering information to prepare for a final decision on the disease by the end of the month.

It is not saying what it will do, pending the results of more research.

But the odds are that the the Ministry will opt for eradication, not containment.

This was made clear by the Ministry Director General Martyn Dunne, in remarks to the committee.

"Our aim is to eradicate, we are not going to say we will go to long-term management," he said.

"Our aspiration is that we want to remove this (disease), if we can, from the animal herd."

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