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Kia ora koutou,

As we wrap up another year and head towards the holidays, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the farming community for your continued effort and dedication to the M. bovis eradication effort.

Alongside farmers and our industry partners Beef + Lamb NZ and DairyNZ, the Programme has continued to make significant progress over 2022.

We are on track to clear all confirmed infection which is isolated to a sole pocket in the Wakanui area. By the end of January 2023, depopulation is scheduled to be completed on all six currently known Active Confirmed properties, and farms covered by the Wakanui Controlled Area Notice will have been destocked.

Clearing all confirmed cases of infection is an important milestone in the eradication effort. Once infection is removed from all active confirmed properties, the Programme will move into a new phase of eradication during which the focus will be gathering evidence that M. bovis is absent from New Zealand. Background surveillance (Bulk Tank Milk and National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance) will be key in this phase of the Programme. It will involve collecting several years of surveillance data in the absence of finding infection to provide confidence that M. bovis is no longer present on New Zealand farms.

To ensure the programme continues to adapt to the work that remains ahead and make the most of the significant gains made to date, the Programme partners—MPI, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ—support a move of the Programme from MPI to a specialist agency under a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP). Working with our industry partners, we are continuing to make progress towards developing a NPMP proposal that is specifically tailored for the work in 2023 and beyond.

Finally, I’d like to extend a big thank you to our Programme staff for all their hard work.

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Ia!

Simon Andrew