Farmers slam MPI's response to Mycoplasma bovis as an 'absolutely bloody disgrace'

Farmers are criticising the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) "chaotic" response to the Mycoplasma bovis (M bovis) outbreak, saying if things don't improve then heads should roll.

In a letter leaked to Newshub, distressed farmers have accused MPI of grossly overspending, with one case allegedly showing $13,000 spent on cleaning one tractor.

The letter from Mid-Canterbury Federated Farmers to Primary Industries Minister Damien O'Connor paints a shambolic picture of the M bovis response, which farmers are labelling an "absolutely bloody disgrace".

While Mr O'Connor agreed many of the issues raised in the letter were legitimate, MPI's director of response Geoff Gwyn apparently dismissed the letter and called it a "sh*t-o-gram", according to Michael Salvesen, the president of Mid-Canterbury Federated Farmers. 

"It was a pretty rude response, or at least we thought it was rude, it was face to face," Mr Salvesen told Newshub.

MPI acknowledged the response to the outbreak hadn't been swift enough and apologised for any distress caused to farmers.

But it stood by its compensation process, which some farmers have called "complicated, stressful and slow".

Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen were the first farmers to identify the disease in New Zealand, but have yet to be fully compensated.

"We're just waiting and waiting and waiting. We got a small amount paid, but there is still a good $5-6 million to go and more to come," said Mr Leeuwen.

They are now facing pressure from the bank and may be forced to sell up some of their farms if the compensation is delayed much longer. 

Farmers also told the minister slaughtering calves was another big worry and was placing "significant stress on the people involved".

But despite these issues Mr O'Connor believes the eradication of the disease was going "reasonably well".

"We're on track," he said.