NZPork, MPI agree on joint biosecurity response

Otago Daily Times

14 June 2023

NZPork has signed an agreement with the Ministry for Primary Industries to manage a response in the event of a biosecurity incursion impacting the sector.

Alongside the Operational Agreement, a biosecurity levy framework for New Zealand’s pork sector will be established to provide a funding option if a disease affecting pigs enters the country.

NZPork chief executive Brent Kleiss said New Zealand’s pork sector was largely disease-free compared to many other pork-producing countries and the agreement would enable swift action to limit the impacts of any outbreak.

"Signing the agreement means NZPork has direct involvement in biosecurity readiness and response decision-making and ensures our own industry expertise is used in the process.

"It provides clarity about how NZPork, on behalf of commercial farmers, would work with the ministry to respond to a pig-specific non-zoonotic exotic disease incursion.

"It covers how joint decision-making would occur, who provides funding and how much funding would be available to activate and undertake an exotic disease response."

More than 90% of pig farmers who responded to NZPork’s consultation supported signed the agreement.

NZPork chairman Eric Roy said the agreement applied to the diseases the New Zealand pork sector was most concerned about and included a cost-sharing arrangement in the event of an incursion in which the Government would contribute 60% and the industry 40%.

The agreement recognised the increased risk to the industry posed by imported product, which made up about 60% of pork consumed in New Zealand.

"New Zealand’s domestic pig herd has a very high health status and NZPork is strongly focused on protecting it from the risk of major threats including African swine fever and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, which had severely impacted pork producers in many countries."

Immediately after signing the agreement, NZPork met with the ministry to discuss potential readiness projects, he said.

"Clarifying processes around destruction, disposal and disinfection and running a simulation exercise of an African sine fever incursion to test updated biosecurity plans were agreed as priorities."

It is illegal to feed any pigs in New Zealand waste food containing untreated meat scraps.

Shaking hands on an agreement to manage a response in the event of a biosecurity incursion impacting the pork sector are NZPork chairman Eric Roy and Ministry for Primary Industries chief veterinary officer Mary van Andel.