Live Exports

The debate continued in parliament this month over the Government’s decision to ban the export of live animals. The National Party opposes this ban because we think there is an opportunity to create a world-leading industry through regulations that would ensure the safe and humane transport of animals, as well as an ongoing importer-licensing regime that would ensure the destination farms continue the high standard of care that our animals should, rightly, be given.

I put up a proposal to introduce an exemption mechanism for the Director-General of MPI to recognise that, in some circumstances, exports of live cattle may be permissible on a case-by-case basis. This would be a principle-based mechanism that enables a "Gold Standard" approach to be implemented if and when the Minister is satisfied that strict statutory criteria are met, based on both robust data and science and thereby allowing the Director-General to approve shipments of live cattle on an individual case-by-case basis, where the exporter is able to establish that the strict criteria are met.

This would include – but not be limited to – only custom built ships with the necessary ventilation, cooling, water and feed systems being allowed to transfer our animals, reduced stocking densities per crate, more stringent vet and stock-handler training and onboard caring systems, as well as pre-departure and arrival health and welfare checks.

We think that if a ‘gold-standard’ was regulated for, New Zealand could continue this $470 million trade that is so essential to our rural communities, while preventing ‘leakage’ of the trade to other countries where animal welfare standards and on-board conditions are often unacceptable.

You can watch my questions to Damien O’Connor in parliament below: