“The party that subjected Kiwis to a daily broadcast from the podium of truth through COVID owes it to farmers to tell them the plan for Foot-and-Mouth,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“ACT is asking for transparency and clarity for New Zealand farmers about the potential Foot-and-Mouth scare in Australia.

“The primary sector is our economic powerhouse, it accounts for $52.2 billion in export revenue, 81.8 per cent of our trade, 11.1 per cent of GDP, and employs hundreds of thousands of people.

“An outbreak in New Zealand would cripple us. It would shut the export industry down for months, or even years. The livelihoods of many hard-working farmers would go up in smoke and our wider economy would take a hit that is estimated to be around $15 billion.

“As the risk of incursion increases, the Government needs to be ready to pull out all the stops, and farmers need to know what the plan is.

“The Government made Kiwis tune into a daily press conference as they made their COVID plan up on the fly. Why aren’t they going out of their way to communicate their plan for Foot-and-Mouth with farmers?

“Could it be because rural New Zealand is a foreign country to Labour?

“The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed that travellers coming from at-risk countries are undergoing a different process of screening, the Government needs to provide assurance by outlining what these extra measures are and the full list of countries they apply to.

“I’m hearing from farmers all across the country that Foot-and-Mouth would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. They’ve already piggybacked our economy through COVID, any incursion would do lasting damage to our prosperity that would take decades to recover from.

“As the disease is rampaging across many tourist hotspots, our biosecurity system is our sole line of defence. All practical measures need to be in place to provide reassurance to rural New Zealand.

“No one will begrudge biosecurity officials for conducting stricter scrutiny at the border, the stakes are too high not to.

“Getting this wrong, almost doesn’t bare thinking about.”

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Mark Cameron