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Deal struck on TB funding

Possums beware: the Representative Committee of the Animal Health Board has reached an agreement on a process for funding the Animal Health Board's $25.6 million TB vector control work, says Meat New Zealand director John McCarthy.

The AHB's $25.6 million budget is co-funded by the dairy, meat and deer industries. Under the new process, dairy farmers will contribute $15.6 million, beef farmers $8.8 million and deer farmers $1.2 million.

The new funding process will be phased in over a period of three years from July 1. The beef industry's contribution will progressively reduce from $11.6 million during that time. The dairy industry's funding contribution will progressively increase from $12.5 million, while the deer industry's contribution will decrease from $1.5 million during the three-year phase-in period.

McCarthy said he is pleased that a deal has been struck. "There has been a protracted debate, but I'm glad that the process has finally been agreed upon and we can now concentrate on the important task of eradicating Bovine Tuberculosis. This is important to ensure that countries that import New Zealand Beef and Lamb cannot use Tb as a reason to bar our exports."

The committee comprising Meat New Zealand, Deer Industry New Zealand, Dairy Insight, Local Government New Zealand, Deer Farmers Association and Federated Farmers has been debating the matters for more than 12 months, McCarthy said. "The deal reflects the determination of all the parties involved to reach an agreement for the future funding process for the Animal Health Board's National Pest Management Strategy."

The funding agreement will come up for review again in five years time, in line with the review of the National Pest Management Strategy, McCarthy said.

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