Improving NAIT begins today

Work will start immediately to improve New Zealand’s animal tracing system, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor.

“After securing the release of the year-late report on the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system last month, officials have worked through the 38 recommendations and advised 23 can be implemented promptly by the management agency OSPRI,” says Damien O’Connor.

“NAIT has let us down in a time of great need as we manage the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

“The hunting down of Mycoplasma bovis has been slowed by the poor uptake of NAIT. For the minority of farmers who fully complied with NAIT, the tracing of animals for Mycoplasma bovis has been smooth.

“This is why it’s crucial we fix the system. NAIT is hard to use and farmers have not been told of the benefits of compliance.’’

The 23 changes include:

  • The NAIT number will be assigned to a particular location – not a person
  • The NAIT interface will be improved to make it easier to enter information and a mobile app will be developed for use in the field
  • The performance of accredited agencies will be better managed, particularly those providing information to NAIT on behalf of farmers.

“I’ve asked officials to take a tougher approach to NAIT compliance and the Ministry for Primary Industries will work with OSPRI to do this.

“As an interim measure, MPI’s animal welfare officers will carry out NAIT enforcement as part of their regular farm visits. Farmers need to play their part by ensuring they meet their legal NAIT obligations, especially with moving day upon us.

“MPI will also work with OSPRI to identify appropriate performance targets that will allow regular monitoring and evaluation of the scheme’s performance.

“Most of the remaining 15 recommendations require regulation or legislation change to implement.  

“Officials will consider whether transporters should have a formal role in the NAIT scheme and the timing for bringing in other animal species. 

“We need a modern and robust animal tracing system to keep our primary sector and economy safe. There will be consultation before we move any further on the remaining recommendations,” says Damien O’Connor.