New Zealand Law Society - Select committee recommends the Animal Identification and Tracing Bill be passed

Select committee recommends the Animal Identification and Tracing Bill be passed

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The Primary Production Committee has reported on the National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Bill (no 2) and recommends that it be passed with amendments.

The bill changes the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012. The Act provides for a system of national animal identification and tracing, known as NAIT. The bill seeks to improve the NAIT system and ensure that NZ can rapidly and accurately trace animals and their movements, to enable better protection and management of NZ’s biosecurity.

The need for improvement was highlighted by an industry-led review of NAIT from 2016 to 2018, and the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in 2017.

The committee considered 70 submissions and heard oral evidence from 10 submitters.

Proposed amendments to bill

Clause 10 of the bill as introduced would insert new section 23A. This new section would specify that the Crown has ownership of the core data under the NAIT scheme. It is not currently clear who, if anyone, has ownership of the core data. Given the limited time to investigate this issue further at present, the Committee recommends removing the reference to core data being the property of the Crown in clause 10, proposed section 23A(1). This means the Act would remain silent on the matter.

Clause 12 inserts new section 31A stating that no person may move an untagged NAIT animal unless an exemption applies. Anyone who breaches this provision would be committing an offence. The committee does not think that transport operators and drovers, or other persons responsible for moving NAIT should be responsible to the same strict liability threshold as others, therefore subsection 31A(2) should be inserted to exempt those people if certain criteria were met.

Under regulation 17 of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Obligations and Exemptions) Regulations 2012, PICAs are exempt from certain provisions of the Act where it is deemed that it would be “impracticable” to fit a NAIT device on an animal.

The committee recommends deleting regulation 17(10) as introduced and replacing it with a review provision. The review regulation would require that the NAIT organisation review the need for the “unsafe to tag” exemption after five years of its coming into force, rather than letting the exemption automatically expire after five years.

The committee recommends introducing a new cost recovery regime for accreditation and audit to ensure that the costs to the entities of getting and maintaining their accreditation are borne by those entities, not subsidised by all levy payers (amending Part 2 of Schedule 3).

Clause 21A should be inserted into the Impounding Act 1955 so that local authorities (including local authority rangers) are exempt from all requirements of the principal Act when operating under the Impounding Act.

Clause 14 inserts new section 32A to require PICAs to declare any livestock that are not NAIT animals. The Committee recommends rewording this as any animals that are farmed or kept in captivity that are not NAIT animals.

The committee recommends extending the purpose to include responding to inquiries about dead NAIT animals found in public places (clause 15).