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Tuesday, 12 June 2018 06:55

The blame game — Editorial

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Much criticism has been voiced in recent weeks about the way the Government and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have handled the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. 

Complaints have sounded loudly about their slow response and muddled approach.  

And -- egos galore -- self-appointed commentators in the lame-street media have added their stupid, false comments.

Some of this is justified but it is unfair to sheet the blame back to MPI and the Minister of Agriculture who have worked long and hard to sort out problems caused to some degree by farmers, not to mention NAIT.

Hands up all those farmers who ignored NAIT or paid it only lip service; hands up those who did cash-for-calves deals, making tracing these animals almost impossible; hands up those who didn’t fess up immediately when there was a potential problem on their farm. And of those who made claims, were they reasonable or over-the-top? 

When NAIT was first mooted did Feds really support it wholeheartedly. Sorry, Don Nicholson, the answer is ‘no’.

As for NAIT itself, what a clunky and user-unfriendly system its designers and administrators have created; and what a mess that leaves us in. 

What was the role of the previous Government in all this? And why didn’t the authorities prosecute the people who ignored NAIT.  

When public money is being spent MPI has every right to scrutinise claims thoroughly. Those who managed the claims during the 2004 floods in the North Island tell stories of unreasonable claims that took longer to process.  

M. bovis is terrible for many people and Dairy News sympathises with them in this frightening and stressful time. Bowing to the slaughter of apparently healthy stock is soul-destroying.

But in apportioning blame, reason must prevail; it must be shared, not just sheeted back to officialdom. 

Some farmers have let the side down badly and the remainder, together with all New Zealanders, must now start forking out millions of dollars for their actions. Blaming just MPI and the Government is unfair. 

Everyone must look in the mirror and give an honest answer.