[12 August/Radio New Zealand National]

A refusal by Ministry for Primary Industries to sign off on European Union import regulations has resulted in 92 Australian alpacas, worth over $1 million, being stuck in quarantine in New Zealand. The animals were sent to NZ for quarantine six months ago as EU rules do not permit the direct export of ruminant animals and were due to leave in July but the mix up means 61 of the animals will now remain in New Zealand for a year or more. Exporter, International Alpaca Exports, said it was the first time in 10 years they have experienced a delay like this. The issue relates to certification surrounding Blue Tongue disease. MPI is reported to be putting pressure on the EU to change the entry requirements and Australian government agencies are also understood to have become involved.