SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Mycoplasma bovis, foot and mouth, National Party, and other nasty germs

By   /   June 15, 2018  /   17 Comments

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The Mycoplasma bovis crisis confronting New Zealand is a story that will be dissected and commented on for decades to come.

This was not simply a matter of a bacteria infecting cattle. This was a  story on many levels; of flouted rules; a significant inadequacy of the “free market”; critical under-funding by National (no surprises there);  and the best silver-lining that farmers could possibly hope for…

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Intro

The Mycoplasma bovis crisis confronting New Zealand is a story that will be dissected and commented on for decades to come.

This was not simply a matter of a bacteria infecting cattle. This was a  story on many levels; of flouted rules; a significant inadequacy of the “free market”; critical under-funding by National (no surprises there);  and the best silver-lining that farmers could possibly hope for…

The ‘bovis’ hits the fan

22 July 2017: Mycoplasma bovis was first detected on dairy farms owned by the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group, near Waimate, in Canterbury. In what must rank as the Understatement of the Year, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investigator, Kelly Buckle, announced;

”At the moment, we’re pretty confident it’s just on those two farms.”

By 1 August, a second dairy farm in South Canterbury had been confirmed with the infection. An ODT report stated;

The ministry was satisfied the containment measures in place were sufficient to control any spread of the disease from the properties involved.

By 29 May this year, the sobering reality of the outbreak turned earlier optimism of containment into a bleak joke;

The cull will involve 152,000 animals over 1-2 years – or an extra 126,000 on top of the planned cull to date.

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The estimated costs of attempting to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis [sic] are $886 million over 10 years, against an estimated cost of $1.2 billion to manage the disease over the long term and an estimated $1.3 billion in lost production from doing nothing.

At this point the Government believes that 37 farms have infected livestock and 192 farms in total will face stock culling – 142 in the first year.

But high-risk animal movements have been traced to 3000 farms and 858 are under surveillance.

The ease of spread of the micro-organism quickly revealed a fatal flaw in the administration of our bio-security systems.

NAIT – the system that farmers nobbled

As the infection was detected on one farm after another, it soon became apparent that dairy farmers had either ignored, or been slow to comply with the NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) system of tracking farm animals.

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As Alexa Cook reported for Radio NZ in December last year;

Under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system, all cattle and deer farmers must have stock tagged and registered, and also record and confirm any animals that are bought, sold or moved.

A March 2018 report from Radio NZ found that around half of the country’s farmers were flouting this critical process;

A review of NAIT found only 57 percent of farmers who record their animal movements, do so within the required 48 hours.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor was not happy. He was moved to state the obvious;

“NAIT is an important part of our biosecurity net and it needs improvement.

Mycoplasma bovis is mostly spread through movement of infected cattle from farm to farm. This means cattle traceability between properties is critical to finding all affected animals, and stopping further infection”

O’Connor warned that farmers who ignored NAIT would face fines.

Even Federated Farmers was not impressed with the slackness shown toward NAIT.  Waikato Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairperson, Chris Irons, was highly critical of his fellow farmers;

“Let’s be frank – the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme is not working as well as it should, and the blame lies with farmers.

Yes, NAIT could be easier to use but that’s not an excuse for not keeping animal tracking data up to date.

There are a lot of farmers who say NAIT is waste of time and money. If you have that view then I’m sorry, but I don’t think you care about the farming industry and are probably guilty of not being compliant.

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NAIT currently does a good job of tracking animals that are registered and all their movements recorded on the database. But the system is only as good as the data put into it.

Owners, sellers and third party buyers have to be diligent about recording cattle and deer movements on their NAIT accounts. The system is fit for purpose when the data is up to date, but falls down when it’s incomplete, or not entered at all.

If we have a fast moving outbreak it will be vital to have NAIT working so it’s up to all farmers to ensure they are compliant.”

Chris Irons was correct when he pointed out that “NAIT could be easier to use“. The system is clunky, with stock tags having to be manually scanned and then manually uploaded into the central system.  The manual aspect of it makes the system unwieldy and easy to “set aside to do later” – if at all.

Full electronic automation would cost millions, and would raise the question of who would pay. This blogger understands MPI was never adequately budgeted for full automation.

It is unclear who would pay for NAIT to be upgraded; the Ministry or farmers?

By May this year, the full extent of farmers’ undermining of NAIT became apparent. Prime Minister Ardern did not mince her words;

“There was a system in place, it has failed abysmally and we are now picking up the pieces of that.

We want to make sure that first and foremost we deal with the issue at hand and that is Mycoplasma bovis and trying to pin down its spread and still focus on the possibility of eradication. The second question is: How do we prevent this from ever happening again?”

Biosecurity NZ’s spokesperson, Geoff Gwynn, spelled out the consequences of the failure to carry out NAIT processes;

“It’s a reality of New Zealand’s farming system that large numbers of animals are sold and moved across big distances.

This response is serving to underline just how much movement takes place and it is this, coupled with poor record keeping through NAIT that is making our job very challenging.”

In part, the spread of Mycoplasma bovis has been a crisis of farmers’ own making.

The “she’ll be right, mate” attitude simply will not cut it in an age of rapid international travel. Harmful micro-organisms and other pests can easily cross the planet and humanity’s artificial borders within days or even hours, on the back of our 21st century transport technology.

But perhaps the greatest irony is that whilst farmers had been lax sharing critical information on stock movements as per NAIT requirements – they were far less shy demanding information from MPI on what was being done to  identify infected farms; eradication/containment of the microscopic invader; and compensation paid out post-haste for culled stock animals.

If farmers had complied with NAIT and provided stock transfer data in a timely and precise fashion, they might not now be in a position where they were braying for information from those same Ministry officials.

The dreaded disease whose name we dare to speak

Waikato Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairperson, Chris Irons, issued this stark warning to his fellow farmers;

“There’s too many farmers who are just ‘oh nah, just don’t want to do it’, but at the end of the day it’s got to be done because that’s the only way we’re going to be able to track any diseases.

If we get something faster than m.bovis – like foot and mouth or something – we’ve got to have a reliable system. At the moment the system is reliant on farmers doing their bit and having their records up to date.”

Like foot and mouth or something“?!

Mycoplasma bovis is a nasty bug. There is little doubt in that. According to MPI, it is present in most other countries around the world. Only until last year, New Zealand was free of the disease. As MPI graphically described, it has multiple symptoms;

Major syndromes seen in other countries with Mycoplasma bovis include atypical mastitis in cows (both dry and in milk) – (the chance of this disease likely increases with increasing herd size), arthritis in cows and calves, atypical, difficult-to-treat pneumonia in calves, middle ear infection (otitis media) in calves, severe pneumonia of adult cows (usually rare), and abortion. All conditions are difficult to treat once the animal becomes sick.

Yet, Mycoplasma bovis is almost the agrarian version of the common cold when compared to a disease that every animal farmer must live in mortal fear of: foot and mouth (Aphthae epizooticae).

In a 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak in Great Britain, farms were quarantined and isolated behind Police barriers;

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Movement was curtailed;

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Millions of stock animals were culled and incinerated on massive pyres;

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Each of those cases meant a farm having all of its livestock killed and burned. By the time the last case was confirmed at Whygill Head Farm in Appleby, Cumbria, on 30 September 2001, more than six million sheep, cattle and pigs had been slaughtered.

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The Guardian reported just some of the effects on British farmers and businesspeople;

The list of victims is long. At the head of it should be the nearly 3m animals slaughtered and burned, along with the 68,000 cows, sheep and pigs set to follow them on to the funeral pyres. Next on the list would be the clutch of farmers who, despite £125m already pledged in compensation, will be driven out of business by an epidemic that swept through their land as devastating as a tornado. After them, the hoteliers and restaurateurs who saw their livelihoods dry up as the world’s travellers declared Britain a medievally benighted no-go area.

The financial cost was horrendous; £3 billion to the public sector and  £5 billion to the private sector.

Tourism income  lost/displaced between £2.7 and £3.2 billion. It took nine months to bring foot-and-mouth under control and stop the spread.

Farmers who were not infected with foot and mouth, but still lost income through massive restrictions to livestock movement, were not compensated.

The invisible psychological effects were perhaps the worst;

The disease epidemic was a human tragedy, not just an animal one. Respondents’ reports showed that life after the foot and mouth disease epidemic was accompanied by distress, feelings of bereavement, fear of a new disaster, loss of trust in authority and systems of control, and the undermining of the value of local knowledge. Distress was experienced across diverse groups well beyond the farming community. Many of these effects continued to feature in the diaries throughout the 18 month period.

[…] The use of a rural citizens’ panel allowed data capture from a wide spectrum of the rural population and showed that a greater number of workers and residents had traumatic experiences than has previously been reported.

Despite the effects of Mycoplasma bovis, New Zealand’s meat and dairy exports are largely unimpeded.

That will not be the case if – or more likely – when foot-and-mouth reaches our shores. With tourism numbers at 3.3 million in 2015/16 and expected to reach 4.9 million visitors by 2023, it is only a matter of time when one individual carries the dreaded foot and mouth micro-organism into our country.

If 100% of New Zealand farmers are not 100% compliant with NAIT in the coming years, the nightmarish havoc wrought by a foot and mouth outbreak will be unlike anything Mycoplasma bovis has wrought.

It is a tough lesson, but the farming sector should be thankful of Mycoplasma bovis (and the person who inadvertently imported it). Whatever supernatural deities there might be have delivered a clear warning to us all.

Observe the rules. Follow the NAIT system.

No exceptions.

Or face worse consequences.

National, the Free Market and minimal-government

Remember this guy?

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He must be feeling a bit of a right ‘wally’ right now.

As ‘Advantage‘ recently wrote for The Standard;

Remember those Morrinsville farmers who protested against our ‘communist’ Prime Minister? Those are the guys we are feeding our taxpayer dollars towards right now

A  Herald report backed up the anonymous blogger’s observation;

The Government will cover 68 per cent costs and the dairy and beef industry bodies the remainder.

The estimated costs of attempting to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis [sic] are $886 million over 10 years, against an estimated cost of $1.2 billion to manage the disease over the long term and an estimated $1.3 billion in lost production from doing nothing.

Perhaps this  US cartoon best shows how those with a distrust of “big government” (or any government) in their lives suddenly have a remarkable Road-to-Damascus conversion when faced with a crisis beyond their abilities to manage;

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Left to the ‘tender mercies’ of a small government, an unfettered free market, and minimal state involvement, how much could farmers expect as compensation for a disease outbreak and culling of their stocks?

Easy answer: nil. As in nothing.

They would be expected to buy their own insurance. User pays would be the rule.

Whether a farmer with an infectious disease would notify authorities (whether such “authorities” would even exist in a minimalist government is a moot point) without compensation, or any other personal benefit, would be an interesting question.

In a purist free market where everyone looks out for him/herself, what would be the incentive to act for the “greater good” of other people?

Fortunately we still have a State and the remnants of collective responsibility when faced with overwhelming circumstances.

Whether a person is a solo mother living in a State house or a farmer with a ten million dollar investment – the State exists to protect it’s citizens when faced with crisis beyond their coping abilities.

The  next time farmers read a media story of a State house tenant unjustly turfed out of their home, or a welfare recipient who has been abused by WINZ until driven to suicide – they should pause for a moment. Perhaps their sympathies may now  be just a little closer aligned with those at the bottom of the socio-economic heap.

National – the party of preference for most farmers – has said on multiple occasions that state assistance should be “targeted“; that tax-payers dollars should only go to those who are most-in-need (even though National then demonises those very same people-in-most-need).

In a free-market, small-government world, a minimal amount of state assistance might be channeled to the poorest of the poor. Just a barely sufficient amount to stave off starvation and prevent embarrassing piles of corpses from inconveniently cluttering up the streets. But state assistance to compensate farmers?

Forget it.

At election time, farmers should think carefully before ticking the Party box. They should ask themselves;

How small do they really want government to get?

In the meantime, our farming friend above should consider changing the text for his next sign;

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A little appreciation goes a long way.

Vote Biosecurity

As the twin effects of the 2007/08 Global Financial Crisis and two tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 impacted on government tax revenue, National was forced to break one of its election promises. It cut back on spending and public services.

It soon became apparent that no part of the State sector would be untouched by National’s then-Finance Minister, Bill English, as Richard Wagstaff of the PSA explained;

The Public Service Association is concerned about the significant risks involved in cutting jobs at MAF Biosecurity, whose staff work on our borders protecting New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar agriculture sector from pests and diseases.

MAF Biosecurity has today announced that’s its disestablishing around 60 jobs by cutting 30 filled positions and disestablishing 30 vacant positions. MAF Biosecurity says the job cuts are in response to falling trade and passenger volumes.

“But the government is also responsible for these job losses as it cut the baseline funding for MAF Biosecurity by $1.9 million in the Budget delivered in May,” says PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“Our concern is that the New Zealand’s economy depends on our farming and horticulture industries that could be decimated if diseases like foot and mouth and fruit fly got into the country.”

“MAF Biosecurity staff work to prevent these diseases and pests from crossing our borders so it’s vital that these job cuts don’t weaken our defences in this area,” says Richard Wagstaff.

Richard Wagstaff’s stark warning became a grim reality as fruit flies, moths, the psa virus, and then Mycoplasma bovis crossed our weakened border controls.

It is difficult to make direct comparisons with  some of the data from National’s Budgets. Categories were changed from the 2009 Budget to the 2010 Budget onward. Much of the budgetary allocations were “buried” with Vote Primary Industries.

However, it is clear that two overall categories can be compared;

  • Border Clearance Services and Border Biosecurity Monitoring and Clearance
  • The overall total of budgetary allocations to biosecurity which from 2012 onward were obtained from the Summaries of each document.

The figures appear to show a steady decline in biosecurity funding from 2008 (Labour’s Michael Cullen’s last budget) to 2014, of thirteen million dollars. This is not accounting for inflation, which would mean an even greater decline in funding levels.

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Note A: From Budget 2012, Vote Biosecurity was merged with Vote Agriculture & Forestry, and Vote Fisheries into the Vote Primary Industries.
Note B: Linked references to Budget documents listed below.

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Corresponding international visitor arrivals continued rising (with only a slight drop in 2009, post-GFC).

Annual imports fell post-2008,but regained steadily after 2011. By 2013, imports had all but returned to 2008 levels (not taking inflation into account).

What is clear is that biosecurity does not appear to have been adequately funded. National’s cost-cutting (until 2013 and 2014) must have impacted on our ability to monitor and prevent pest incursions.

This would appear to coincide with the appearance of several destructive pests recently;

Whatever “savings” National made by cutting back on biosecurity were, by definition, false economies. Once again, cuts to an essential state sector service inevitably created grave consequences.

This time for our farming sector.

The next time National promises tax cuts at election time and to make “efficiencies” to “do more with less“, this is a lesson that the farming sector should remember with some bitterness.

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Those so-called “cost-savings” didn’t come cheap. A fact farmers should bear in mind when it comes time to cull herds exposed/infected with Mycoplasma bovis.

 

Acknowledgement: thank you to a certain scientist who gave her time to proof-read my article and offer constructive criticism.

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References

Wikipedia: Mycoplasma bovis

NZ Herald:  Confidence mycoplasma bovis outbreak contained

ODT: Another meeting as second farm infected

NZ Herald: MPI will face ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude on M. Bovis, farmer says

Radio NZ: Incomplete farm records slow tracking of cattle disease spread

Radio NZ: Farmers face checkpoints in effort to stop cattle disease

Fairfax media: NAIT responsibility – the buck stops with farmers

Radio NZ: M Bovis spread – Tracking system has ‘failed abysmally’ – PM

NewstalkZB: Farmer slams Govt over bovis communication

MPI: Two-page summary of Mycoplasma bovis

Wikipedia: 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak

The Guardian: The news from Ground Zero – foot and mouth is winning

BBC: When foot-and-mouth disease stopped the UK in its tracks

The Guardian: A catalogue of failures that discredits the whole system

National Audit Office: The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

NCBI: Economic costs of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001

NCBI: Psychosocial effects of the 2001 UK foot and mouth disease epidemic in a rural population: qualitative diary based study

MoBIE: New Zealand Tourism Forecasts 2017-2023

Radio NZ: Man still repaying debt from unnecessary HNZ meth eviction

Fairfax media: Aggressive prosecution focus at MSD preceded woman’s death, inquest told

National Party: Low income earners to subsidise homes for wealthy

National: Achievements – Social investment

NZ Herald: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

Mediaworks/Newshub: Labour – Key promised no job cuts, asset sales in 2008 speech

Fairfax media:  Jobs expected to go in state sector cuts

Scoop media: Risks involved in cutting MAF Biosecurity jobs

NZ Herald: New Zealand fruit fly free after successful operation

MPI: Red clover casebearer moth

Mediaworks/Newshub: Crown opens case in kiwifruit claim over Psa virus outbreak

NZ Treasury: Budget 2008Vote Biosecurity

NZ Treasury: Budget 2009Vote Biosecurity

NZ Treasury: Budget 2010Vote Biosecurity

NZ Treasury: Budget 2011Vote Biosecurity

NZ Treasury: Budget 2012Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2013Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2014Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2015Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2016Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2017Vote Primary Industries (inclu Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury: Budget 2018Vote Primary Industries (inclu Vote Biosecurity)

NZ Treasury:  Budget 2012 – Introduction – Estimates of Appropriations 2012/13

Statistics NZ: Exports and imports hit new highs in 2017

Statistics NZ: International visitor arrivals to New Zealand – 2008 – 2018 (alt. link)

NZ Herald: Kiwifruit disease Psa explained

MPI: Pea weevil

MPI: Eucalyptus variegated beetle

Fairfax media: Velvetleaf, one of world’s worst weeds, confirmed on three Waikato farms

MPI: No further Tau flies found and restrictions now lifted

MPI: Culex sitiens mosquito

Radio NZ: English hints at further tax cuts

NZ Herald: Key pledges state service shake-up

Scoop media: Speech – John Key – Better Public Services

Additional

Wikipedia: Biosecurity in New Zealand

MPI: Keeping watch

Radio NZ: Failings in NZ’s stock tracking system (audio)

Radio NZ: Cattle and oysters – a catalogue of issues: Damien O’Connor (audio)

Radio NZ: One in five farmers ignoring safety regs – WorkSafe

Other Blogs

The Standard: It’s Time for a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Dairy Farming

Previous related blogposts

Bugs and balls-ups!

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= fs =

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17 Comments

  1. Priss says:

    From RNZ, this morning;

    “The ministry is embarking on a years-long programme to try to eradicate the disease that is predicted to cost taxpayers and farmers $740 million.

    A crucial part of the puzzle in working out how far the cow disease has spread is establishing who has received calves from the Southland farm believed to have had it first in late 2015.

    Mycoplasma bovis can cause lameness, abortions and mastitis in cows, but there is no risk to human health from the infection.

    MPI’s Geoff Gwyn said this had been made more difficult by a lack of co-operation from farmers.

    “After 10 months we’ve not had one scenario, and many of these names are in the public domain, who have come to us and said ‘oh by the way I got animals from a property down south’.

    “We have even gone out down in Invercargill and put advertisements in the newspaper with the farmer’s consent and people are not coming forward and saying I traded with them.”.” https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/359654/uncooperative-farmers-making-m-bovis-fight-harder-mpi

    It looks like you got the story at about the same time RNZ did, Frank.

    It backs up your investigation very well!!

  2. countryboy says:

    Well, there’s a couple of things.
    Firstly, the ‘farmers’ you speak of are a relatively new phenomenon for their commercial, production line dairying techniques.
    I think a more accurate term might be DAIRY farmers, or if you want to be flippant, try ‘cowsploiters’.

    The other thing you mention is how [dairy] farmers are, or will, enjoy huge pay-offs from us, the tax payer and use an image of a homely looking banjo picking fellow to cement in our minds the spectre of an idiot nation of shit kickers.

    A could be, where did our money come from , some of which we pay in taxes, given how our economy is really just a big pile of terrible off-shore debt leveraged against the earning power of our primary industry? You can see where I’m going with this? If NZ wasn’t farming? What would it be? A tourist destination while we import our foods?
    So, why shouldn’t we, all of us, protect our farming primary industry? And not necessarily on dollar form. Have you been ‘down on the farm’ recently? It’s fucking awful! I live in Coastal Otago, in the heart of Kiwi-as farming and what a dreadful place to be. There’s no venues for music, there are no bars or cafe’s to speak well of. It’s lonely as fuck and when you need to engage with others, you only have each other. And Oh My Ghod! That gets very, very boooooring!
    I think the best way to resolve this problem is for farmers, all farmers, to strike. To hold back calving and lambing and picking, cropping and harvesting.
    That’s what I think.
    A worrying odour emanating from your Post @ FM is a stink I’ve smelled before. It pongs of logical fallacies and as you lay into National, the farmers politicians, one could argue, you in fact cement, in the hearts and minds of non farming people, the justification to demonise and vilify our farmers. You know the farmers, right? No, sorry , I forget. You don’t. The farmers who are exploited, and hunted down like dogs by the banksters while erroneously holding onto the fallacy that National are representing their [ farmers] best interests.

    NZ/AO Farmers are in trouble. And by extension, so are we all. That’s for sure. M.Bovis is just another reason to put a bullet in the .22. But as a consequence, you and me and all the other lazy latte sippers will suffer too. NZ/AO farmers should be cosseted and paid well and certainly well compensated for any losses incurred for what ever reason.
    And they, NZ/AO farmers, should have access to peer to peer lending, well away from the rapacious narcissistic sadists that is the foreign banking industry CEO’d by creeps on $ 2 k an hour. ( ANZ CEO. And I must say… Not one fucking word from you or anyone else Posting on TDB about those fuckers)

    Imagine if NZ/AO farmers had ALL their foreign earned currency at their disposal?
    Instead of the crumbs swept off the ridiculous, pompous, self aggrandising little Kiwi city tables?
    Everything about your Post @ F M stinks of weirdy, head fuckery aka logical fallacies.

    • Mjolnir says:

      “Everything about your Post @ F M stinks of weirdy, head fuckery aka logical fallacies.”

      That’s not how I read Frank’s blogpost, CB. In fact, if anything, he’s put the boot into underfunding biosecurity by the previous Nat govt and suggested that m.bovis may’ve been a silverlining in the cloud. It could quite easily have been foot and mouth we’re dealing with. He’s also expressed an understanding that the NATE system is clunky and not user-friendly.

      Personally I can’t fault his logic nor his facts. As usual, he’s given citations for practically all his points. And the story he’s presented stacks up pretty well.

  3. pat says:

    well when all is said…..those farmers who dont give a flying fuck about the land and who ignored NAIT should be fined set fire to and given no compensation at all…..and those farmers whose lives are wrecked because of these fuckwit should run them off the land as well….assholes

    • cleangreen says:

      I like the ribbing of the farmer holding up “she is a pretty communist, then after the MB outbreak and government bailout he is holding a plackard then saying “thank you”.

      Yes we just have very lack biosecurity rules with National and now the mess has become Labour’s problems now sadly.

      Just cant trusty nationals free market policies can we.

      Leaving a bill for us of an “estimated cost of $1.2 billion to manage the disease over the long term and an estimated $1.3 billion in lost production from doing nothing”.

      “Thank – you national” is what that farmer should be showuing on his placard.

  4. John W says:

    Without defending or knocking farmers, we do have a massive problem that farmers are involved with and not managing.

    The article does set out to share information that not all Kiwis may have seen and yet all Kiwis will have to pay for the problem.

    As usual the responsibility is neglected and then socialised with costs met by those who trusted an irresponsible pro- corporate farmer Govt, who effectively protected some rogue farmers but not NZ.

    Let get on with fixing the problem but first you have to understand the problem.

    Red herrings won’t help nor ignorance and defensiveness.

    Thank you Frank for the effort youhav3 put into laying out the train of reported events.

  5. Dorothy Bulling says:

    Generally, farmers who chose not to compky with NAIT rules should be shamed out of farming, and should not get any compensation from the taxpayer..

  6. let me be frank says:

    a comprehensive post as usual Mr MacSkasy….unfortunately we cannot attribute behaviour across the board…. when the brush is applied the tendency is to close ranks…townies do it too

  7. Jack Ramaka says:

    National Party = Mycoplasma Bovis IMHO ?

  8. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Why do Farmers Cry like Babies day in and day out, for ever and ever ?

    Especially when they know the Tax Payers are the suckers who will fix up their massive mess. Their pollution; their disastrous cavalier approach to over stocking; their lazy usage of Phosphate and Nitrate. Their crudeness.

    Then like the Cowards they are, they sling insults to anyone who isn’t one of their Crybaby Inc Group.

    I am one of those who will insist that for every $dollar handed out to the Farmers, a $dollar will be given to every Business in New Zealand, and to every Tax Payer in New Zealand – excluding Farmers.

    Farmers must learn to get OFF the public Teat. Your over priced cheese stinks!

    Well may the Farmers Sniffle and Cry, when most Kiwis cannot even afford a home and barely afford their Rent. !

    • countryboy says:

      Ah, God. I feel like a worry free criminal returning to the scene of the victimless crime.
      I’m going to spell this out in as simple a terms as possible, so pay attention kiddies.
      I’m going to speak broadly. When I write the word ‘farmer’ I mean all those poor bastards who decided that working the land, in all permutations, was a worthy and noble occupation.
      Here goes ‘sigh’.
      NZ/AO Farmers do what they do and as a consequence of that, they make stuff and things that earn our foreign money. Y’know? By trusting scum bag, down-stream others to export farmer produce to sell, in good faith, to make a reasonable $-return for the good of us all. ( Bahhahaha ahaha aha a ahahahaha ) Sorry about that.
      Here’s how it goes. In my view and please, don’t be shy to try and prove me wrong, and good luck with that.
      Back in the day when men were men and dinosaurs roamed the cities, NZ farmers worked like the dickens to get wool, meat, dairy etc to foreign markets. Which they did alarmingly well. See refrigerated shipping + wealthy, winter bound Northern Hemisphere markets?
      Amongst those farmers were other farmers who knew how to dodge their moral obligations, lets say, and went about to wedge themselves between the righteous farmer and their markets. The rise of the ‘Producer Boards’. Look it up.
      And then… The dreaded National party wove the farmer into their dirty cloak of lies and head fuckery to where most farmers find themselves immeshed in today.
      National. The Farmer Party. What a load of wank.
      Now, here’s where it gets a little more sketchy. Bear with…
      NZ Farmer earns our money from selling their product off-shore, right?
      The National Party, in part comprising of days-gone-past crooked old cockies ran with the farmer and hunted with the banksters, lawyers, accountants, money lenders and sundry narcissistic egomaniacs now ensconced in grand old buildings like our Parliament Buildings, whoring, boozing, swindling, lying and cheating.
      The problem for them, however, is the likes of me.
      So, for everyone of me, they must come up with ever more creative ways to protect the lies, cheating and vast wealth creation they’ve been used to having virtually unimpeded access to for generations.
      That must stop, and they know it.
      National MUST keep the Farmer reigned in. National must maintain psychological control over their farmer serfs and crush any dissent.
      One of the ways they do that is to infiltrate opposition political parties, like Labour.
      It’s my view, that Labour has been infiltrated by confederate National spooks to demonise farmers to make sure farmers cling to National like a Syrian refugee does to a life raft.
      National parasitise farmers so when farmers look elsewhere for support, and who can blame them? They get smacked down by Labour and it’s hangers on parties , like NZ First and the Farmer hating Greens. That means, farmers only have their abusers to go home to.
      To support my theory one only needs to go into the countryside to see for one’s self how isolated, culturally deprived and frankly, ( No pun intended ) simply lonely it is out there. The little farming towns and communities are desolate and deprived yet provide huge wealth down the line. The internet is slow at best, the cops patrol like the Stasi looking for pissed cockies weaving home in the flat deck after trying to socialise at the pub and the costs of rates, electricity and the raft of absurd on-farm restrictions and OSH requirements are simply control mechanisms to protect the lies were told about farming and farmers and all lapped up by you who don’t mind eating and wearing what Farmers produce yet you spit in their faces in your determined ignorance.
      The upshot of ‘all this, is that I don’t trust a soul who drafts farmers out of the social, day to day running of NZ/AO.
      It’s vital that Farmers are somehow welded to the down stream service industry who deliver their products to markets both here and off-shore. When you go to the supermarket it wasn’t bankers, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, landlords, politicians, social workers, Dr’s, nurses or artists who put that food there. It was farmers. 52 thousand of them.

      I became involved in a movement back in the late 1980’s with the help of a fellow farmer and a few others to take direct action to protect ourselves from being bullied and exploited by politicians and banks.
      I spoke to a capacity audience in the Christchurch Town Hall about the above issues I’ve raised here. I told Jim Bolger that he was simply there to further enhance is political career, I told Sir ( Little bit of sick ) Peter Elworthy that he’d achieved nothing for the farmer he was pretending to support and instead made fortunes, by remote control, for his city based cronies.
      I received loud applause with the odd hoot, if I remember correctly. Then? Out came the confederates. One by one and soon those three thousand farmers and their friends and families were lead off down the garden path…
      We had a general meeting out at a farmers property to which we invited a fellow called Collis Blake. A fabulous man, so the media played him up to being. A wealthy, Wellington philanthropist known for buying farmers farms who were doomed with foreclosure from don brash’s 22% interest rates then reselling those farms back at suspended interest rates. He stood up on our make shit stage and began to gust out air like a punctured tyre. He was all for diversification and make-do. I thought “ Fuck this r-unt! He’s one of them!” I stood up and bellowed “ Wait a fuckin’ minute! ? We’re here to talk direct action! We’re here to work up a strategy to strike! We’re here to withhold stock and crops! We’re here to take control of our own industry, not his shit! “
      He changed colour and levelled a look at me and said “No!” That’d be a disastrous mistake and I’ll not have anything to do with it. “
      The dreaded confederate stole the show.
      And now? We’re fucked. Our country’s in financial tatters, our farming ‘ industry ‘ equally so, and you city people have been head fucked into hating on us and The Green Party and The Labour Party, in reality, the farmers best friends are writhing with Spooks who push the farmer back into the abusive arms of the Natzo’s
      Job done.

  9. Keepcalmcarryon says:

    Fed farmers opposed NAIT from the get go because it recorded their cattle movements and had implications for recording their obligations for paying tax on livestock traded.
    Now (in public) they sing a different song.
    http://www.wham.co.nz/index.php/page_id/15/id/70

    Comparisons to Foot and Mouth are fraught: F and M as well as having huge export economic implications, spreads rapidly within an area and is readily apparent clinically unike Bovis which does not clinically manifest rapidly so spreads very widely but relatively more slowly and is harder to detect.
    Mycoplasma Bovis although not an export issue, has welfare implications and a drop in production which will be ongoing if it becomes endemic.
    What became evident in F and M in the UK, was the breakdown in trust between government and farmer, which we seem to be seeing to some degree with mycoplasma here now.
    Cynically you could suspect the Fed farmers actually want the labour government to fail, unaware of how much they are sabotaging themselves by not declaring animal movements from suspect properties.
    Not pretty.

    • Mjolnir says:

      Perhaps that’s why Frank contrasted the implications between m. bovis and f&m? They have different symptoms of contagion and their economic consequences are vastly different, but m. bovis was definitely the lesser evil. It was a “warning shot across the bow” and we should be thankful this little bugger came along to up our game.

  10. Jack Ramaka says:

    Hopefully be some cheap steak in the supermarkets this winter ?

  11. PX 10 says:

    O’Connor warned that farmers who ignored NAIT would face fines.

    This is weak BS. A simpler and more effective response is to simply deny compensation to all those who did not comply.

    Interfering government just something they choose to ignore? Fine. Interfering government will not provide interfering dollars in compensation.

    The farmer backlash to fearsome to do this? We need a new government, one which will not cave to threats from self serving special interest groups.