[21 May/Stuff]

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with Waikato farming leaders and will decide within the next week which direction to take to stop the spread of Mycoplasma bovis. The disease has been found in 38 farms. The disease was a blow to Waikato farmers, and Ms Ardern wanted to hear firsthand from those impacted by it. Ms Ardern said the industry was not at the stage where it had to accept the disease was here to say. She added we had to come up with a plan unique to our situation. Roto-o-rangi dairy farmer, Dean Bailey, said it was a good discussion. Farmers were concerned about their herds getting infected and it meant changes to how they farmed, greater biosecurity consciousness and lower stocking rates and intensification. Waikato Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman, Ben Moore, noted the Government and industry had a big decision ahead as it chose whether to keep eradicating the disease or to switch to a management system.