'Just abysmal': Farmers furious at MPI's 'shambles' response to M bovis

Over 400 of farmer Duncan Barr's animals have been slaughtered in the Mycoplasma bovis response. 

The result is two vast blocks of land, empty and unused.  

He understands why the cull was necessary, but is blunt when it comes to his assessment of the process: "Shambles."

"[It's been] pretty chaotic really, and really lacking on the human front," he said. "Their shortcomings on human welfare and farmer welfare is just abysmal.

A progress report from the Ministry of Primary Industry's (MPI's) own group of advisers calls into question their plan.

It states "there's concern that the impacts of an eradication campaign may be greater than the benefits".

There are problems with the timeliness and transparency of decision-making that's impacting compliance and the trust of farmers.

And MPI's at risk of losing its social licence - meaning farmers are fed up.

So does MPI accept the eradication programme's under threat? MPI's M bovis director Geoff Gwyn doesn't think so.

"No I don't think it's under threat. I think that Technical Advisory Group has given us a solid pass mark, but what it's also indicated is some areas we need to focus on."

Mr Barr has a different take on it. 

"It's just impossible to work with them."

The reports highlights issues because of inconclusive testing - but says the plan to eradicate the disease "remains technically feasible". 

MPI says it's doing its best to make the process as easy as possible, but Mr Gwyn can't make any promises.

"I can't promise a zero-pain process. We're locking down someone's property. It's always going to be hard."

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says she hopes their work won't go to waste.

"It would be a real shame - in my view and a lot of people's view - to throw away all the investment we've done in having a good go at eradication."

Mr Barr is typical of the problem the report describes - he was fully behind eradication a few months ago, but that's changed. 

The real danger for MPI is that it could lose the support of farmers, and that's crucial to the operation's success. 

Mr Barr has lost faith.

"At the moment, it's about protecting myself and my business. Have I got belief in the eradication process? It's a simple no."

There's no doubt the response to the disease, and slow pace of pay-outs, has left some farmers in a dire financial situation. 

Newshub spoke to five farmers, all from the South Island, who say there's a real possibility their business will fold and they'll have to walk off their farms.