Simon Bridges says he doesn't want to use Mycoplasma bovis as a ‘political football’, despite the issue for weeks being kicked around by both National and Labour

Simon Bridges says he doesn't want to use Mycoplasma bovis as a ‘political football’, despite the issue for weeks being kicked around by both National and Labour

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has called for a political ceasefire over Mycoplasma bovis, saying he doesn't want to make the matter a “political football.”

His comments come after both National and Labour MPs have been using the issue for exactly that purpose for weeks.

 “I think the reality is that sometimes bad things like this do happen and it’s how you deal with it afterward,” Bridges says.

“Whether it’s National or Labour, what’s important now is we don’t politic on it, we don’t play the blame game and we get in and we try and solve it.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended a meeting with farming representatives and the Ministry of Primary Industries on Tuesday morning.

“The message is we are working together on this issue,” she says.

She says by next week the Government will come to a decision around how M bovis will be managed going forward.

The Government has committed $85 million to the frontline response, but Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor has estimated the cost of eradicating the disease could be up to $1 billion.

The disease has been a hot button topic at Question Time over the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, Bridges asked Ardern what impact M bovis would have on business confidence.

“When it comes to the issue of Mycoplasma bovis, we would not be having this debate if that last Government funded biosecurity properly. We're cleaning up the mess that Government left,” she said.

On May 2, National's Biosecurity spokesman Nathan Guy used the disease in an attempt to score a political point.

“Why is the coalition Government prioritising free tertiary education instead of appropriately funding M bovis response costs that impact the New Zealand economy and rural communities?”

On behalf of the Minister of Biosecurity, Labour’s Stuart Nash said he rejected the proposition behind the question.

After Guy asked if O’Connor stood by all his statements regarding M bovis for the second day in a row, O’Connor attacked the record of the previous Government.

“Yes, and, in particular, I stand by my statement of the shameful inaction of that member to develop an animal tracing system that works, because National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) has let us down immensely through the whole Mycoplasma bovis response.”

Speaking to media this morning, Bridges said this issue of M bovis has come up at least half of the public meetings he has been running over the last month.

“Farmers have been clear to me, Nathan Guy and other farming MPs they want us to be constructive – they don’t want to see us politicking.

“They want to see a very much solution orientated approach. We’re taking that quite seriously.”

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Bit late for a ceasefire , you would have thought that Dairy and its downstream and related industries would be important enough for us to put our petty politics aside in the nations interest .

Lesson learnt -- the only world renowned reputation left for NZ's ministers, ministries, government departments and public servants is probably corruption-lessness.

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"Hey guys, yeah...umm...so we obviously didn't fund the regulatory body adequately...or have adequate oversight from our ministers - Paula, was this another Jonathan Coleman thing, or was it Nick Smith - but...well, yeah, we need to focus on where to from here, not who was supposed to do something about these sorts of things in the past. Let's not play the blame game, guys.

...

Guys?

Anyway, I think we should look at how we redistribute taxpayer money to support our farmers.

What I would say is that at the end of the day the fact of the matter is."

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When you are going to loose the battle, you are obviously going to call for a cease fire. There is a lot that the last government did, that they should be crucified for, so they deserve any political punishment that they receive.

Yes, the cynic in me thinks they now have the proof they were at fault.

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National don't have a leg to stand on here. Nor, according to data, do the majority of farmers. 'The National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (Nait) Review report revealed that only 57% of farmers who record animal movements, do it within the required 48 hours. Furthermore, it showed overall farm-to-farm recording may be as low as 30%.' Quoted AgriGlobe 28 March 18. National was complicit in allowing this fiasco, but if this is the level of professional farming practice, perhaps only compliant farmers deserve compensation.

Yes in essence, engaged the mouth before he engaged his brain! and for what political advantage.
Apologies for being harsh but that is what this adds up to.

I can tell you right now that NAIT pointing the finger at farmers is a cop out of grand proportions.

Does anyone know how many fines were enforced for NAIT non compliance?

MPI's job was to protect MPI then to protect the government then to protect New Zealand.

Recent information made public and confirmed by MPI suggests they think they know how the disease got into NZ. Now they are begging the media to connect the dots and take some of the heat off them.