Thirty new compliance officers are being sought nationally to further boost the Ministry of Primary Industries' (MPI) enforcement and farmer education components of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) scheme.

The vacancies were advertised last week, with some of the officers to be based in Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.

A MPI spokesman said the ministry had already significantly stepped up its enforcement of Nait.

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''However, this will be further boosted with the introduction of 30 new compliance officer positions in November,'' he said.

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''These officers are currently being recruited and trained.''

He said the new officers' key roles would include farmer education and non-compliance detection.

''The role is to educate farmers about complying with Nait.

''But where needed, infringements and prosecutions will occur.''

The advertisements said the officers' primary role was to ''detect and investigate non-compliance within the Nait scheme'' as well as monitoring and enforcing animal welfare compliance.

MPI is looking for people who understood the Nait scheme and the NAIT Act, had experience with animal production systems and hold a firearms licence, as part of their role as enforcers of the Animal Welfare Act.

''On occasion, to prevent animal suffering, inspectors may be required to euthanise an animal with a firearm.


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''In order to be in lawful possession of a firearm, a firearms licence is required.''

Federated Farmers Southland dairy chairman Hadleigh Germann said it was important that MPI and Nait were effectively resourced, particularly given how important their biosecurity role was.

''Obviously farmers, as taxpayers, don't want unnecessary staff but we need to be confident that they have enough resources to carry out their roles effectively,'' Mr Germann said.

''From what I understand other agencies have supported MPI with secondments of staff once the M. bovis situation escalated.

''Federated Farmers views NAIT compliance as mandatory.

''While it's too late for M bovis, having a robust and well utilised Nait system in the future could prove invaluable if we have a similar disease outbreak.

''An easy-to-use Nait system that integrates with other farm management software such as MINDA should not impair dairy farm operations,'' he said.

North Otago Federated Farmers president and national high country industry group chairman Simon Williamson said Nait needed to ''sharpen up''.

Other aspects of tracing animal movements also had to be improved - including at saleyards and from farm to farm, he said.

He was concerned that lifestyle block owners with small numbers of cattle were not Nait registered, so all their stock movements would go unrecorded.

Mr Williamson believed most farmers complied with Nait.

Those who might not tended to be older people who were not familiar with using computers.

''Most sheep and beef farmers are pretty compliant. They only have to do it once a year.''

It was much more difficult for dairy farmers, who were moving large numbers of cattle several times a year, he said.

North Otago Federated Farmers dairy chairman Jared Ross said he would welcome a stronger Ministry for Primary Industries presence in the area.

-Additionally reported by Sally Brooker

Southern Rural Life