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Taxpayers will pay $150 million in the five years to 2015 to fund the Government's share of killing possums and managing bovine tuberculosis.

The taxpayers' contribution of $30m a year is on top of $45m a year from beef, dairy and deer farmers, and $6m from regional councils.

"We have already made significant progress in controlling TB," said Agriculture Minister David Carter. "The number of infected deer and cattle herds has fallen from more than 1700 in 1994, to 98 in June this year."

New Zealand was widely recognised as the world leader in TB management, and the ability of its beef, dairy and deer industries to compete in global markets hinged on the success of this work.

The taxpayer funding supported a revised national pest management strategy, an $82m annual programme administered by the Animal Health Board (AHB) in partnership with the Crown, industry and regional councils.

The AHB welcomed the continued taxpayer contribution.

"This should please dairy, beef and venison farmers who want nothing more than to rid New Zealand of TB, once and for all," said AHB chief executive William McCook.

"Under the revised National Pest Management Strategy, the AHB is now looking to eradicate the disease in possums and other wildlife from one quarter of New Zealand's vector risk areas." This was about 40 per cent of land area.

The AHB's initial 1998 pest management strategy was aimed at the trade-oriented target of meeting international levels for "official freedom" from TB - having only 0.2 per cent of deer and cattle herds infected in 2013 - a level which would prevent trade rivals using TB incidence as a basis for seeking non-tariff trade bans on NZ meat and milk exports.

But in 2007 it told MPs that TB-infected possums, ferrets, and feral pigs and deer remained in nine million hectares of NZ - about a third of the country - and those animals would continue to infect farmed livestock until the disease was eradicated from wildlife.

In 2009, it proposed a plan over 40 years, proposing to eradicate TB from pest animals, starting with a 15-year stage to 2025: trial TB eradication from large selected areas of heavily-forested country through control operations over a five-year period involving annual ground control and four to five yearly aerial 1080 control operations.

This would be followed by five years of intensive wildlife monitoring and herd testing to ensure the disease was eradicated.

If large-scale eradication proved feasible, the AHB would progressively eliminate it from the rest of the country under a new pest management strategy from 2025, with nationwide eradication taking another 20 to 30 years.

- NZPA