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Minister's data grab a step too far in NAIT review - DairyNZ

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

DairyNZ Biosecurity Manager, Dr. Liz Shackleton, will be appearing before Parliament’s Primary Production Select Committee today to submit on the National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Bill (No 2).

"As a major shareholder in NAIT Ltd and a partner in the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) programme, DairyNZ has a genuine interest in this legislation", says Dr Shackleton.

"Traceability forms the central pillar of any biosecurity response and New Zealand’s biosecurity system will be strengthened through the evolution of our traceability system".

DairyNZ supports the overall purpose of the Bill to improve the framework governing NAIT and to provide for the rapid and accurate tracing of farm animals and their movements to enable biosecurity management, such as M. bovis currently affecting cattle in New Zealand.

Dr Shackleton comments that "International experience shows us that traceability systems take time to evolve and stabilise as part of a normal development process - and New Zealand is no exception. It is important to view recent biosecurity challenges as an opportunity for further improvements that will make our system stronger.

"Farmers are at the ‘sharp end’ of New Zealand’s national traceability scheme - so will wear the day to day impacts of the provisions developed and implemented under the NAIT Act.

"In times of uncertainty such as major biosecurity responses, we turn to systems we can trust, systems that also ensure privacy and integrity of our data. That trust will be critical to the success of the NAIT scheme.

"While DairyNZ is largely supportive of the proposed changes to NAIT, we have serious concerns about data security and want to send a clear message that we are firmly opposed to any attempt to take ownership of farmers’ NAIT data. The Crown does not need to ‘own’ the data to manage the risk.

"DairyNZ support the Minister and appropriate Government agencies such as MPI having access to data for the purposes of the Act but believe that anything further would constitute a significant privacy breach.

"The Minister already has the power to access the appropriate data for the purpose of NAIT and current legislation provides for the transfer of data from one NAIT type entity to another if needed.

"NAIT is a relatively young system by international standards and M. Bovis has tested this. We have learnt from that experience and the system’s future success now lies with all of us working collaboratively.

"DairyNZ will be engaging constructively throughout this process to help ensure positive outcomes for farmers and a world-class traceability and biosecurity system we can all be proud of," Dr Shackleton concludes.

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