The Government announced its new plan for Mycoplasma bovis yesterday, saying it will continue to fight the cattle disease through "phased eradication."

As a result of this decision, a further 126,000 cattle will be destroyed in an effort to rid M. bovis from New Zealand.

Minister for Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O'Connor spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about the decision and what it could mean for those affected.

The eradication option will hopefully have a lesser impact financially on the industry says O'Connor.


"I guess it's cheaper over time for the industry if we can succeed here and that's certainly always been our objective."

The decision on M. bovis has been a collaborative process with the Government seeking international advice as well as consulting with the New Zealand Primary Industry sector. Choosing the path of eradication rather than managing the cattle disease was "pretty much" unanimous says O'Connor.

"They all came back to the table and were unified in their belief that eradication is the best option. We have to go for it now."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and O'Connor are visiting a farm in Waimate today to talk to a farmer affected by Mycoplasma bovis and to get "first-hand feedback," on his experience with the cull.

Other feedback from farmers is that the Ministry for Primary Industries has been too slow with compensation for farmers affected by M. bovis.

O'Connor says fighting the cattle disease has been "a new challenge for every one of us, MPI included," and that a new agency called Biosecurity New Zealand has been set up within MPI to focus on potential problems in the future.

"We're making some major changes and there's a commitment now to those unfortunate farmers who have to cull their herd ... that within 10 days of their application we'll have a substantial amount of that compensation back to them."

Also in today's interview: Damien O'Connor talks about whether phased eradication will eventually become management and how close MPI and police are to finding the source of M. bovis infection in New Zealand.


Listen below: