The Government has again been forced to step in to negotiate a fix to a bureaucratic snafu that was holding up meat exported to China.
Six weeks after the end of an almost month-long block on Kiwi meat imports, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has confirmed a shipment of New Zealand meat was being delayed at the port of Dalian in northern China last week.
"On Thursday we were made aware that China had issued new rules for New Zealand meat certification," he said. "In the last 48 hours we have sought clarity around the impacts of those requirements and officials have negotiated their implementation."
Guy was in China late last week and said New Zealand's "warm and professional relationship" with China "has enabled us to quickly resolve this".
New rules for meat exports to China will be implemented today. The rule changes required that veterinarians must be directly linked to the last site in New Zealand where the meat was located before export, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said.
The new rules will affect 30,000 tonnes of meat estimated to have been shipped to China since June 1 and while they come into effect today, Guy said at least some of the meat now en route to China might be delayed slightly until updated documentation was received and accepted by Chinese officials.
Labour primary industries spokesman Damian O'Connor said the new rules adopted to get around the latest block "could have serious ramifications for the industry".
"The Government may have to reverse its programme of deregulation for meat inspection in freezing works across the country."