14 Apr 2011

New online database to aid emergency response

1:21 pm on 14 April 2011

MAF Biosecurity is encouraging the rural community to make sure they are registered in a new farm information service designed to speed up responses to national emergencies.

Farmers, growers and lifestylers are being encouraged to enter their contact details into FarmsOnline, which pulls together information about land use and ownership of rural properties.

Biosecurity minister David Carter says the system has been developed in response to the shortcomings exposed in the 2005 Waiheke Island foot and mouth hoax.

He says FarmsOnline would have significantly reduced the time it took the Government to respond to the disease scare from more than a week to just two days.

MAF business analyst Jane McGrath says the system has 98% coverage of the country's rural properties.

But she says farmers, growers and lifestyle block owners will need to check that their property information is correct and provide contact details in case of a rural emergency.

The personal contact information registered on the database will be not be available publicly.