The Ministry for Primary Industries has stepped up the fight against Mycoplasma bovis with the formation of a science advisory group.

Members of the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group would provide high-level strategic scientific advice to the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group, MPI said in a statement.

"The advisory group will ensure we have on-going access to some of the best minds and knowledge relating to M. bovis, which will bolster the eradication effort," Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand and chair of the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group, said.

The advisory group, which first met on July 31, brought together a range of relevant expertise from New Zealand and internationally.

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They would contribute their expertise on a range of science matters, including:

•identifying any critical knowledge gaps and ways to address them, including considering emerging technologies and ideas that may help eradicate M. bovis
•prioritisation of M. bovis research efforts
•coordination of current and future science initiatives relating to M. bovis
•learning from other research programmes in New Zealand and internationally
•providing assurance that M. bovis eradication research efforts remain fit for purpose

MPI departmental science adviser and advisory group chairman Dr John Roche said the members understood it was an unsettling time for many farmers, and they were moving quickly.

"They held their second meeting this week to start the development of their detailed work plan to shape the long-term science strategy.

"The group has already identified some key priorities for immediate work, and will hold a workshop in September to get wider input into developing the broader science plan," Roche said.

A science advisory group has been set up to help in the fight to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis. Photo / File
A science advisory group has been set up to help in the fight to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis. Photo / File

Advisory group members

John Roche – departmental science adviser, MPI (Chairman).

Glenn Browning – professor, director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Hamish Gow – professor of agribusiness, Massey University.

Nigel French – distinguished professor, executive director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre, Massey University.

Axel Heiser – senior scientist, immunology, AgResearch.

William McMillan – independent agri-business consultant and scientist; Kaiārahi Ahuwhenua, Federation of Māori Authorities.

Trish McIntosh – director, North Canterbury Vets.

Roger Ayling – private consultant with extensive M. bovis research experience, United Kingdom.

Cameron Stewart – research scientist, Disease Prevention and Detection, CSIRO.

James Turner – resource economist and senior social scientist, AgResearch.

Shaun Hendy – director, Te Pūnaha Matatini, University of Auckland, complex systems, networks, and mathematical modelling.

Prue Williams – general manager Science System Investment and Performance, MBIE.

Veronica Herrera – director, Diagnostics and Surveillance Services, MPI.