The Government has reached an agreement with farming sector leaders and will attempt to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis (M. Bovis) from New Zealand.
The estimated cost of eradication is $886 million, to be spent over the next 10 years.
More than 150,000 cattle will be culled in a world-first bid to eradicate cattle disease.
“The decision to eradicate is driven by the Government’s desire to protect the national herd from the disease and to protect the base of economy – the farming sector,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“This is a tough call – no-one ever wants to see mass culls. But the alternative is the spread of the disease across our national herd,” she said.
The Government will meet 68 per cent of the cost and Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand will meet 32 per cent.
Ardern said there was “real chance” of eradication to protect the more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms.
Culling will involve all cattle on infected properties along with cattle on most restricted properties.
All infected farms found in future will be “de-populated”.
Following depopulation, they will be disinfected and lie fallow for 60 days after which they can be restocked.
The Government said it was anticipated that 126,000 cattle would be culled – most in one or two years – in addition to the 26,000 underway already.
The cull, of around 126,000 in addition to the 26,000 already underway, will take place over one to two years.