OSPRI’s role in supporting the NAIT review
Recently, OSPRI has received some enquiries from NAIT users in relation to claims that, as the management agency for NAIT programme, OSPRI has held up the release of the NAIT review recommendations.
It is important that we clarify the process of the NAIT review and our role in this. OSPRI was one of several parties, alongside government and industry, undertaking the NAIT review. OSPRI was not the governing agent of the NAIT review.
The review commenced in 2016, on the basis that the programme had completed its transition and initial implementation phase since introduction in 2012. Accordingly, NAIT Limited and its industry shareholders, alongside government, considered that it was timely to review NAIT with the aim to identify potential improvements and to take account of the learnings and feedback from NAIT users since the system was introduced in 2012. The outcome of the review was to provide a report to government for consideration in terms of regulatory amendment.
The review was undertaken by a technical user committee that was overseen by a steering committee chaired by Sir Henry van Heyden. The steering committee was comprised of high level representatives of NAIT shareholder/investor agencies (Beef and Lamb, Dairy NZ, Deer Industry NZ), Government and key primary industry and supply chain stakeholders including Dairy Companies NZ and the Meat Industry Association. It was agreed at the outset, that the review needed to be independent, and facilitated by appointed Chairman with the involvement of industry and government.
The technical user committee had representation from across the supply chain, from farming sector to stock and station agents, dairy companies and meat industry and processor representatives alongside NAIT shareholders, NAIT Limited and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The technical user committee met 15 times between 2016 and 2018. The steering committee met 11 times throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018, to contemplate these issues alongside the recommendations brought forward by the technical user committee.
Upon identifying a series of recommendations, the technical user committee representatives facilitated further working group discussions within their respective industry sectors and agencies, covering wider deer, dairy and beef farmer, processor, sale-yard and stock agent inputs to the review process to gain feedback on any further priorities, needs or gaps. These wider working group processes commenced between September and November 2017 under a specified terms of reference and confidentiality arrangement for purposes of input to the review.
As has been recently asserted, OSPRI did not own, nor govern, the NAIT review process. Moreover, OSPRI did not dictate any timeline during the review process to facilitate open and robust discussions between committee members. OSPRI merely responded to produce the NAIT review report at the point where both NAIT review committees felt that recommendations were amply developed and agreed, which occurred in late December 2017. While the intention was to develop the report by March 2017, OSPRI, MPI or any of the industry agencies, were not in a position to limit the discussions occurring amongst committee members, in order to ensure the spirit of participatory democracy is sustained. Having the buy in of both government and industry to the outcome and recommendations remained a crucial focus point.
It was acknowledged that giving effect to the recommendations of the review will involve a mix of legislative, regulatory and operational changes following the confirmation of the recommendations through standard regulatory consultation processes. Following Minister’s request from NAIT Review committees to immediately finalise the recommendations and submit the report to the government, despite that the committees did not finalise their discussions, OSPRI, in consultation with the committees, has finalised the report on 3rd April 2018.
It should be noted that even in the case that the report had been submitted in March 2017, the resultant actions to enable the implementation of the recommendations, including regulatory developments which typically require timelines of up to 12-18 months, may or may not have been made prior to the identification and diagnosis of mycoplasma bovis in New Zealand determined in July 2017. Notwithstanding, reports of mycoplasma detection and response have indicated that the disease may have been introduced as early as 2015 to New Zealand. Therefore, it is not possible to conclude that late delivery of the NAIT review report has directly resulted in greater impacts on the overall management of mycoplasma bovis response.
OSPRI is keen to work with MPI in the next months for public consultation of NAIT review recommendations intended for regulation. In parallel with changes to the NAIT regulations, OSPRI will undertake implementation of the recommendations that does not require legislative change and will also be preparing to implement the recommendations that require regulation change. We will keep the farming community, supply chain and community updated on progress for these important developments.