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O’Connor is accused of being slow to act on bovine tb – but Nats have been slow to raise questions, too

22/02/2020

Point of Order

The Nats are accusing Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor of being slow to act on a bovine tuberculosis outbreak in Hawke’s Bay.  Is it a fair cop?

OSPRI confirmed an outbreak in Hawke’s Bay in April last year, but a disease management response wasn’t put in place until October, National agriculture spokesman Todd Muller contends.

There have been more positive tests since then and one third of Hawke’s Bay will be under stock movement controls from March 1.

“Responses like this need to be fronted quickly for the sake of our valuable beef and dairy sector. The Minister needs to be across his portfolio and ensure these issues don’t sneak past him.”

But whether O’Connor has been caught napping depends on when he first learned (a) about the bovine tb and its rate of spread and (b) what was being done to deal with the outbreak – and when he should…

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