National Party concerns over changes to NAIT rules allowing warrantless inspections and seizures on farms are just grandstanding, says Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Government passed amendments on the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) Act under Urgency last week to support the eradication of M. bovis, but some have voiced concern in the rural community, with some farmers believing it means MPI could enter their homes without a warrant.

Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor told The Country's Jamie Mackay concerns over warrantless searches were just an example of the Opposition stirring up trouble.

BIG changes to the NAIT legislation, pushed through under urgency yesterday to "Align the NAIT Act search powers with...

Posted by The Country on Thursday, 16 August 2018

"The National Party filibustered on this Bill and then voted for it in the end. So this is just a bit of political grandstanding and it gets a little tiring I have to say."


O'Connor said MPI officers could go on to a property, but not a house or a marae "just to simply inspect - not to search."

Listen below:

Mackay points out that inspect and search are similar terms.

"All this power does is give MPI the ability - if they see something that they believe is relevant and confirms non-compliance they can lawfully seize it."

"They can not go into your house without a warrant."

Addressing recent criticism of the changes, O'Connor said the Bill was passed with urgency and did not go through a select committee because the changes were, "minor technical issues to bring it into line with other law" .

"There are bigger issues in NAIT that we will bring back in a new piece of legislation. It will go through select committee, it will be debated and we'll take it through the house."

O'Connor blamed the previous government for the current situation with the Bill.

"If the National Government had done its job in the first place and aligned the NAIT legislation with search and surveillance which they said they were going to do ... we wouldn't have to make these technical changes now."

He said farmers were confused by the NAIT changes because of media repeating the Opposition's opinion about the Bill changes rather than reporting a "detailed investigation."

Also in today's interview: Damien O'Connor gives an update on the Mycoplasma bovis response.