Learning lessons from New Zealand’s response to M. bovis

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Media contact: MPI media team
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An independent review of the Mycoplasma bovis Programme is being carried out to identify lessons that can be learned from New Zealand's largest biosecurity response.

Programme partners DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries have appointed Professor Nicola Shadbolt (Chair), Dr. Roger Paskin, Professor Caroline Saunders and Mr Tony Cleland to carry out the review.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel said it was best practice to carry out a review of an eradication programme of this scale and was also a commitment made to farmers at the start of the programme. 

"Eradicating M. bovis is hard work but with the whole sector working together, we have made really good progress. It's important we capture what we've learned and utilise it for anything we might face in the future."

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Andrew Morrison said it supported the review.

"There's been a lot of good work by farmers and people involved in the Programme and we have worked hard to make improvements. We have a philosophy of continuous improvement and this review is the next step in our journey."

Review panel chair Nicola Shadbolt said that it was important to consider what could be learnt from the M. bovis response, to strengthen New Zealand's biosecurity system. 

"The Government and farmers have committed a great deal of time and effort to eradicating M. bovis and it's been a significant undertaking for everyone involved.

"We can learn a lot from looking at the response overall and understanding what went well from the beginning, what changed as the Programme made improvements and what can be taken onboard for future biosecurity responses."

M. bovis Governance Group independent chair Kelvan Smith said the review has a different focus from previous reviews, such as analysis by the Technical Advisory Group, which focused on the possibility of eradication.

"The eradication programme is going well, as shown by the reduced number of farms under controls over the past year. Everyone involved has played their part and I thank everyone for their efforts to date."

Farmers will be invited to take part in the review in due course. The review is expected to take at least 6 months and will be shared publicly once completed.

The terms of reference for the review – Mycoplasma bovis

Review panel members 

Professor Nicola Shadbolt (Chair)

Nicola is a New Zealand farmer with significant experience in the agriculture sector in New Zealand. Nicola is a professor of Farm and Agribusiness Management at Massey University, has authored more than 100 research articles, is editor of 2 international academic journals, and has co-edited the textbook ‘Farm Management in New Zealand'. She has previously been the Manager of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' National Info-Systems Centre.

Dr Roger Paskin

Until 2018, Roger Paskin was the Chief Veterinary Officer for the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia where he had technical oversight of all animal disease control, surveillance, traceability and health certification programs in the State of South Australia. 

Roger was engaged by DairyNZ to review case and data management of the M. bovis Programme in 2019.

Professor Caroline Saunders, ONZN

Caroline Saunders is president of the UK Association of Agricultural Economists and has significant experience in the Agribusiness and Biosecurity sectors, including 9 years as a member of the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee.

Caroline Saunders is a Professor of Trade and Environmental Economics at Lincoln University and Director of its Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit. Caroline has undertaken research for a wide range of private and public organisations including the EU commission, MFAT, Treasury and Fonterra.

Mr Tony Cleland

Tony heads the Board of FMG as Chairman and has extensive experience in the rural sector. Tony is a dairy farmer and one of the founders and a director of FarmRight, a company which manages $1 billion of assets.

Tony has held a range of governance roles, including director of several large-scale farming businesses.

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