Southland Regional Council is blaming its first case in two years of a cow infected with bovine tuberculosis, on a policy that allows cows to be imported into the province.
The region was declared free of Tb in 2008, a status achieved through about $50 million of eradication programmes over the past 20 years.
The animal found at an Edendale farm was imported from the West Coast.
It has since been destroyed, but the council is unhappy with the Animal Health Board for allowing imports of cows from an area considered at high risk of TB.
The board is defending its policy, saying animals are tested before they're imported, but it's not always an exact science.