Mycoplasma bovis has been confirmed on four more farms.
RNZ reported they are near Tapanui, Waimate, Invercargill and Darfield, bringing the total number of actively infected farms to 42.
Total infected properties since the start of the response:
Hawke's Bay (Hastings) – 2 (1 active)
Manawatu (Pahiatua) – 1 (1 active)
Waikato (Cambridge) – 2 (2 active)
Wairarapa – 1 (1 active)
Canterbury – 21 (17 active)
Otago – 8 (5 active)
Southland – 17 (15 active)
Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor says feedback from farmers has led to changes to support the Mycoplasma bovis response and improve farm biosecurity practices.
Large numbers of farmers have been attending a series of Ministry for Primary Industries Mycoplasma bovis roadshow meetings throughout the country.
MPI had been listening to them and was making various changes that could be implemented quickly without legislation, Mr O'Connor said in a statement.
Some farmers had expressed frustration at not being formally told when a neighbour's farm was identified as an infected property.
MPI would start directly informing neighbouring farms of infected properties or high-risk properties.
That would mean farmers could take appropriate steps to improve their on-farm biosecurity and reduce the risk to their own stock, he said.
"This is a measured step that balances the privacy concerns of individuals with the need for farmers to protect their own farms," he said.
MPI has refused to name those affected by the disease, citing privacy, and earlier this week, director of response David Yard said it did not believe naming individuals would benefit the response outcomes.
Mr O'Connor said MPI would also publish a list of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) numbers of all infected animals on its website.
That would include all animals associated with or traced from an infected property, giving farmers better information to make decisions when purchasing new stock.
MPI would also do more to ensure enforcement of the Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form. It was a legal requirement the ASD form must accompany a consignment of cattle when a stock sale took place.
Farmers needed to disclose the health history of their stock and declare whether their farm was under any movement controls.
Regulation and legislation changes also being considered included amending the Animal Products Act to add a new infringement offence for failing to use the ASD form correctly, amending the Nait Act to bring its search powers in line with the Search and Surveillance Act, and new regulation to control the use of discarded milk.
- with Otago Daily Times