Enhancing NAIT - release of NAIT review

Date 4 April 2018


OSPRI, the organisation which manages the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) programme, says New Zealand’s agricultural sector will benefit significantly from the implementation of the recommendations arising from the NAIT review.

A recent review of the programme has just been completed with recommendations provided to the Minister for Agriculture and Biosecurity, Damien O’Connor. The review determined that the existing framework could be improved to better reflect the core principles supporting effective traceability of livestock and to provide a higher level of readiness for biosecurity issues in the livestock sector through enhanced usability, uptake and adherence for those participating in the programme.

OSPRI chief executive Michelle Edge says the organisation will support both the industry sectors and government through the upcoming changes to the NAIT programme. “It is well anticipated following the introduction of a system like NAIT that it requires ongoing evaluation and assessment to ensure delivery of the stated aims – this review was a great opportunity for this to occur and to develop the approach for enhancing New Zealand’s traceability system into the next era”.

“OSPRI works closely with the sector in managing the NAIT scheme, therefore we are aware that farmers understand why this system is critical to successful animal health management, disease surveillance, demonstrating customer and market requirements and nationwide livestock disease responses,” she says.

“The next step is to ensure utilisation of the traceability system in supporting animal health surveillance and management as well as its role in underpinning of New Zealand’s product integrity standards”. “To do this, we will be working with MPI towards tightening the regulatory framework and NAIT standards to ensure these reflect the core principles of traceability as well as enforcement of the compliance in a way that is consistent with the uptake and development of NAIT system over recent years by providing ongoing education and support to farmers.”

Michelle Edge says the review of NAIT involved representatives from Beef & Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, DCANZ, Deer Industry New Zealand, Federated Farmers, the Meat Industry Association, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Operational Solutions for Primary Industries (OSPRI). The working group was supported by a technical user group consisted of farmers, representatives of the industry, MPI, OSPRI and commercial companies.

The topics covered in the review were wide ranging, including but not restricted to, animal location, movement recording, animal registration, assignment of NAIT number, tag readability, retention and replacement, tag visual coding, tag distribution, new and emerging technologies, the roles and responsibilities of users and organisations with obligations under the NAIT legislation, NAIT system enhancements, user experience, exemptions and their implications, compliance, education and existing regulatory provisions.

“It’s clear that this has been an extremely thorough review, and one that is embraced by the industry and supply chain representatives. We now need to support the Minister and government as they work through a public consultation period for the regulatory proposals, and ensure that industry and community views and ideas are considered,” Michelle Edge says.

She says that some of the review’s recommendations are operational, and will not require regulatory changes to put them in place. These include introducing guidelines for replacement tags, establishing a hotline and a reporting process for tag retention issues, development of NAIT applications for mobile devices, adding other animal attributes within the NAIT system and developing a streamlined process for animal registration.

As the public consultation on the other recommendations gets underway, OSPRI and the Ministry for Primary Industries will also be working on a joint compliance strategy to ensure greater uptake and adherence to the NAIT system.

Background and key information

The NAIT programme has been in place since 2012 and is funded by the industry and Government. The individual animal identification and tracing scheme links people, property and livestock through its RFID tag identifiers, property registration, animal registration and recording of animal movements in an online national database to ensure the traceability and management of any disease outbreak or food safety incident.

Further details on the review consultation will be provided by government shortly.

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