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Published: 2015-07-30 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council says it is concerned proposed changes to the national plan for managing tuberculosis (Tb) in cows may be somewhat hypocritical when it comes to the Waikato.

The council is also concerned the plan doesn’t pay enough attention to the possibility of the disease being transported into the region from outside.

The comments came during discussion at today’s council meeting which considered the finalising of a council submission on the proposed changes.

Speaking afterwards, chief executive Vaughan Payne said that OSPRI, which manages bovine Tb-related possum control, had argued strenuously that the council shouldn’t stop collecting a rate for funding OSPRI in the region. OSPRI had said this could result in less pest control in Waikato. That argument recently helped lead the council to extend its rate collection for OSPRI for another year.

“Yet the proposed changes to the national plan suggest a greater focus on pest control in areas where TB is known to be, rather than continuing general treatment in a wider range of areas,” said Mr Payne.

“The council considers that there is a high likelihood that this approach will result in a withdrawl of OSPRI pest control operations in the region north of Taupo.”

The submission also reflected concerns in the farming community that Tb was not well-established in the region and that outbreaks could be the result of infected stock being trucked into or through the region.

“We think substantially more effort needs to be put into making sure that transporting of stock isn’t a significant factor in managing Tb in the Waikato,” Mr Payne said.

“The council considers that an effective national Tb pest management strategy is vital to both the Waikato and national economies, to limit production loss and the associated economic impacts of the disease on our cattle and deer industries.”