Industry groups are urging farmers to have a say on MPI's latest consultation on how the NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) scheme can be improved.

Today MPI announced it is calling for feedback on proposed changes to the NAIT Act 2012 and regulations, with the aim of improving how biosecurity risks are managed and to enhance the traceability of animals.

Included in the consultation are questions that go further than the NAIT Review, including the role of animal transporters, issues around stock agents and potent to bring other species under the scheme.

Federated Farmers says it is in sync with the Government's determination to revamp NAIT into a more effective and easy-to-use system and President Katie Milne urges farmers to speak up on the changes they want to see.

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"The launch this morning of a new round of consultation on improvements to the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme is a vital step in streamlining and future-proofing this tool."

Good progress has been made getting on with some of the 37 recommendations in the NAIT Review released earlier this year says Milne.

"Now we have another chance to further hone the scheme into the effective farming, traceability and biosecurity tool we need it to be. Farmers - the people who use NAIT every day - have a huge stake in this and will no doubt have ideas on how to make NAIT more fit for purpose.

"The M. bovis outbreak has underscored for us why we need to get this right and Federated Farmers will certainly seize this chance for input," says Milne.

DairyNZ also encouraged farmers to speak up about the potential NAIT changes.

"It's vital that dairy farmers take a close interest in what is being proposed, given the importance of biosecurity to the sector and to New Zealand," said chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.

"Mycoplasma bovis has highlighted the importance of an effective traceability scheme and every farmer should take the opportunity to express their view.

"We encourage farmers to look at the proposed changes on MPI's website and provide their feedback."

The changes fall into two categories: those arising from the NAIT review undertaken earlier this year by OSPRI (the organisation that oversees the scheme) and also from changes generated from learnings from the M. bovis response.

"We are working with MPI to further understand how these changes will impact on dairy farmers. DairyNZ will also be submitting our feedback on the proposed changes," said Mackle.

In general terms, the proposed changes include the following:

• PICA (person in charge of an animal) would now cover corporate bodies as well as individuals. For example, this will cover everyone in charge of animals and now matches the requirements in other legislation, such as the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

• NAIT tags would be assigned to a specific location – they would not be able to be used elsewhere. A NAIT tag is a lifetime tag which is applied to an animal at its location of birth (animals do not need to be re-tagged each time they move location).

• Anyone transporting untagged animals without an exemption could be fined.

• Animals that are 'unsafe to tag' (previously labelled 'impractical to tag') must be declared at any time before sending to the meat works.

• Farmers must segregate untagged animals before tagging/returning them (unless at the meat works).

• Farmers must declare any non-NAIT species annually.

Public consultation on the proposals begins today and ends on December 19, 2018.

Further information, including the consultation document and submission form, is available on MPI's website: mpi.govt.nz/NAITconsultation.