16 August 2018
National’s NAIT amendments deserved due process
While some changes to the National Animal Identification and Tracking Act (NAIT) are needed, Parliament has been denied
the opportunity to properly scrutinise Government amendments which may not be in the best interests of farmers,
National’s Agriculture Spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has had months to introduce this Bill into Parliament, but instead he expanded
wide-ranging search powers under urgency.
“Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be able to turn up to farmers’ properties without getting a warrant and
seize anything they want, unannounced and without cause.
“National asked Mr O’Connor to send the Bill to select committee during the two-week recess to allow public input and
ensure there are no unintended consequences for farmers, but the Minister refused.
“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 being 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.
“However, National did successfully move an amendment that requires the Minister to report to Parliament next year on
how these expanded powers are being used. We will await this review with a great deal of interest.
“National reluctantly supported the legislation to improve NAIT’s performance but remain gravely concerned about the
process and invasion of farmer’s privacy.”