Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says new wide-ranging search powers introduced by the Government under urgency will concern South Canterbury farmers.
“Changes to the National Animal Identification and Tracking Act (NAIT) are needed in the wake of the Mycoplasma Bovis outbreak, but giving the Ministry for Primary Industries the power to search farmers’ properties without a warrant is a step too far.
“It feels like farmers are being treated worse than criminals. A warrant is required to search a gang pad but not a farm - it doesnt make sense and is a slap in the face to law-abiding farmers who have been left devastated by the M.Bovis outbreak.
“What the wider public has to remember here is that this is not just a person’s business, its also their home. Families should be able to go about their daily life without the fear of people with clipboards turning up at their front door unannounced to conduct a search.
“National proposed amendments during the debate that an officer needs reasonable cause to suspect non-compliance with NAIT before entering the property.
“We also proposed that these wide-ranging warrantless powers be curtailed, so a NAIT officer can't seize property without obtaining a warrant.
“Unfortunately, both of these safeguard amendments were voted down by the Government.
“National reluctantly supported the legislation to improve NAIT’s performance but remain gravely concerned about the process and invasion of farmer’s privacy.”