Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has unveiled big changes to New Zealand’s biosecurity system, including new law changes to strengthen animal tracing and details of a Biosecurity Act overhaul.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor made the announcement during a visit to fire-ravaged areas in Tasman.
“The wildfire and the drought conditions have combined to make it a particularly tough time for those trying to manage stock and grow food,” O’Connor said.
The declaration unlocks extra funding of $50,000 for the Rural Support Trusts and primary industry groups to help speed up the recovery of farming and horticultural businesses.
The forecast holds little respite following several weeks of heat and high winds and with water restrictions in place, pastures and orchards are parched, noted O’Connor.
“Officials have been working with the local trusts, councils, and industry bodies over the past couple of weeks as the dry weather threatened to tip into drought. The fire has further hurt our rural communities with some stock losses, essential access to water restricted, feed destroyed and infrastructure damaged.
“The acute issue is the management of stock where their owners have evacuated their properties due to the fires.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries is working with vets, the SPCA, fire and emergency and police to help farmers manage their animals or move them until it’s safe to return.”
O’Connor says the focus remains on getting the blaze under control, cleaning up the immediate damage then supporting our rural sector to get back on their feet for winter.
“The Rural Support Trusts do a fantastic job all around the country and are invaluable during emergency situations and in the weeks and months following.
“There will be difficult times ahead and the Government will ensure everything that can be done will be done to ensure people and animals are safe and can get back on their feet,” O’Connor said.
Last year the Coalition Government increased the funding available for the Rural Support Trusts from $386,000 a year to $622,000. MPI is increasing its staff on the ground to 10 from today.