While Agriculture Minister David Carter is busy extolling the virtues of Government Industry Agreements, or GIAs, saying they will strengthen biosecurity, Federated Farmers says he hasn’t thought it through.
David Carter has been meeting with primary industry groups over the last week to hammer out the details of the GIAs.
The Minister says that partnerships between government and industry will lead to better biosecurity through joint-decision making, and that various industries still have time to negotiate the finer details of the agreement,s before they are signed into law.
Mr Carter says government has agreed to meet 50 percent of the costs for priority readiness and response programmes.
But Federated Farmers say it will be the ongoing costs of an incursion that could possibly cripple smaller industries.
John Hartnell, The federation’s bee spokesman, says while the Fonterra’s, Alliance Meats and the like may have a lot of wealth behind them, smaller industries simply don’t have the resources available to fund biosecurity outbreaks.
"If you get down into industries like specialist fruits, avocados, and things like that where they have very few commercial growers, maybe only 100, and there is a large pest or disease that enters their industry, it could basically wipe it out."
Mr Hartnell says if the bee industry had to pay half the $16 million cost of varroa, with fewer than 200 commercial beekeepers to share the bill, people would simply abandon the industry.
"It’s the small industries that end up with potentially a huge cost and they’re very very nervous about this whole thing."
David Carter also appears to have ruled out accounting firm KPMG’s suggestion earlier this week than a small levy be applied to New Zealand’s incoming visitors and goods to help fund biosecurity initiatives.
While Federated Farmers also supports this idea David Carter says the levy would be a barrier to trade and that as an exporting nation the last thing we want are levies and tariffs.