The Ministry for Primary Industries has faced criticism for the time it has taken to compensate farmers affected by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor defended MPI when he spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay, saying some farmers have already had payouts and that compensation is complicated.

"It is a complex process...there's a lot of information that's actually hard to verify because the NAIT system has been you know, a dog's breakfast," says O'Connor, referring to The National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme.

"If that system was robust and up and running and farmers could clearly identify the animals and where they'd gone then it would be easier."


O'Connor does admit the compensation process is "agonising" but says he is pushing for payouts in certain cases.

"Wherever there's been acute need we've stepped in to try and hurry it up."

Also in today's interview: Damien O'Connor defends the government's stance on the CPTPP and foreign investment.

Listen below: