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5 September 1996
The Ministry of Agriculture has released an application to introduce Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) for public comment.
MAF's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Barry O'Neil said that after considering the Application, the advice of peer reviewers and the process which has been agreed for an RCD Application very carefully, he had decided that the Application should be made available for public comment. Dr O'Neil said that it was in the public interest to give people an the opportunity to make submissions on the Application as soon as possible, and that the process should be as open as practicable.
The Application, from a group comprising the Otago, Canterbury, Southland and Hawkes Bay Regional Councils, Marlborough District Council, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and the Commissioner of Crown Lands, was received by MAF on 27 June 1996. It was sent to a number of peer reviewers whose task it was to evaluate whether there were any gross errors or omissions in the science. The peer reviewers' task did not involve making any recommendations regarding whether or not the Application should be granted.
The people who reviewed the application covered the areas of:
They reviewed the document separately and individually, from the perspective of their specific area of expertise, not collectively as a group.
MAF's minimum requirement was that any gross errors or omissions identified by the peer reviewers be addressed. The Applicant Group considered the other comments of the peer reviewers and amended the Application as they (the Applicant Group) considered appropriate.
Dr O'Neil stressed that MAF had not formed a view on whether rabbit calicivirus disease should be imported into New Zealand and will not do so not until after the consultation and assessment process has been completed. The closing date for public submissions is 4 November, with no extensions.
After the period for submissions from the public has closed, all the submissions will be analysed, by an independent consultant working under contract to the Ministry of Agriculture. The report of the analysis will then be sent to the peer reviewers, whose names and comments will not be released publicly until after the final decision on this Application has been made. The reviewers will be asked whether any of the issues raised by the public are significant and any information is missing from the Application.
‘Significant', in this context, is defined as “a new issue or information which would fundamentally alter the approach, sufficiently serious to require another round of consultation.”
If there are no significant issues, the CVO will then prepare a recommendation to the decision-maker, MAF Deputy Director-General, Dr Peter O'Hara. When Dr O'Hara has made his decision, the Applicant Group will be advised and the decision announced publicly. All commenters will also be advised of the decision and sent a copy of the report of the analysis of public submissions.
Media inquiries to:
Dr Barry O'Neil, Chief Veterinary Officer (04)474 4128
Debbie Gee, Communications Manager, (04)474 4258
RCD Information Line (04)470 9805
Copies of Applications from:
GP Publications, freefax 0800 804 454 or phone (04) 496 5603