The controversial NAIT Amendment Bill has been causing concern among farmers who believe MPI officers will have the right to walk into their houses without a warrant.

DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle spoke to The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum about the Bill, saying it has provoked some "mixed reactions," in the farming community.

The Government introduced the NAIT Amendment Bill earlier this month and passed it under urgency last week.

While Mackle says DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and Beef and Lamb New Zealand all support the NAIT review he can see why some farmers would be unsettled by the Government's recent "tacked on," changes around the Search and Surveillance Act.


Listen below:

"There has been an understandable reaction from some farmers feeling a bit blindsided by the swiftness of the changes ... and probably also not understanding them. We probably didn't help ourselves either in terms of actually more broadly offering support when really we didn't have quite the visibility we needed about it either."

Mackle says the changes now bring the NAIT Bill in line with the Search and Surveillance Act which was released in 2012. Some farmers have expressed concern that the Search and Surveillance Act is linked to anti-terrorism, but Mackle says, "it is much more broad than that."

"It actually gives powers to a whole lot of different Acts that a whole lot of different Government Agencies use to do search and surveillance ... what I suppose most people don't understand is that most, if not all, of the legislation that MPI operates under ... actually have linkages through to Search and Surveillance - but NAIT didn't."

What this means in practical terms according to Mackle is that MPI can come on to a property and gather evidence, "but they can't go into dwellings ... unless [they] get a warrant."

Mackle says, "that ability to gather evidence is crucial," in the fight against cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Also in today's interview: Dr Tim Mackle gives a Mycoplasma bovis update and reminds people that DairyNZ's Board of Directors Nomination Process is open.