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21/03/2018: MPI advice to stock transport operators on Mycoplasma bovis

In response to a request from RTANZ for more information on how the outbreak of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis affects transport operators, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has clarified details on the protocols and responsibilities for farmers and operators.

All farms under a Restricted Place Notice (RPN) must have a permit from MPI to move animals to other farms or direct to slaughter. Each permit includes requirements for cleaning and disinfection of the stock truck. It is a legal requirement that the farmer supply the chemicals and equipment to spray stock crates and vehicles.
MPI Mycoplasma bovis liaison, Emil Murphy, says the key message is for transport operators to work in with farmers.
“On leaving farms that are under movement restrictions there are cleaning and disinfection protocols in place. These are detailed at the farm.”

“The cost for cleaning of vehicles and products is the responsibility of the property owners,” Mr Murphy says. “Where this has to be done because of MPI movement restrictions or similar, the person that MPI has exercised to have owner powers (the farmer) can claim for compensation. With Mycoplasma bovis this is generally the farmer. Otherwise this is a commercial agreement between the contracting business and the client.”

Mr Murphy says that cleaning vehicles between working on different farms is good practice from a biosecurity perspective. “I can see that more and more farmers will expect that in the wake of this outbreak.”

The current number of “active” Infected Properties (quarantined under movement restrictions) as at 9 March is 27. The properties are in Canterbury, Hawkes’ Bay, Otago, and Southland.

For details on the comprehensive cleaning and disinfection protocol, see:

For the latest update on Mycoplasma bovis, see:


21/03/2018: Preferred option for SH3 Manawatū Gorge replacement announced

The NZ Transport Agency has selected a preferred option for a new State Highway 3 route to replace the closed Manawatū Gorge, connecting the Manawatū, Tararua District, Hawke’s Bay and northern Wairarapa regions.

The preferred option selected is Option 3 of the four shortlisted options, which runs from near the Te Apiti carpark western entry of the closed Manawatū Gorge, across the Ruahine Ranges north of the Gorge, before emerging at Woodville.

NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Emma Speight says after a thorough investigation and extensive consultation, Option 3 emerged as the safest and most resilient route that best balances the combined needs of the communities, businesses and road users who will utilise it.

“Everybody understands just how important a replacement for the Gorge is. It will re-establish a key strategic transport and freight link that supports the needs of the people and economies of Central New Zealand,” Ms Speight says.

RTANZ Area Executive Sandy Walker, who is a member of the Joint Working Group on the gorge, says he is very happy with the outcome. “This was always the best option that I identified early for all transport operators being the shortest route, most cost effective to build, and having the least steep gradient.”

Options for a freight ring road on the Palmerston North side was well as a second bridge crossing the Manawatu river are still being explored.