Rotorua dairy farmer fined for failing to register hundreds of cattle

The charges related to 424 unregistered cattle.
The charges related to 424 unregistered cattle. Photo credit: Getty

A Rotorua dairy farmer has been fined more than $3000 for failing to register hundreds of cattle under MPI's National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

Ian Francis Bell, 69, was fined $3364 after pleading guilty to nine representative infringement offence charges.

MPI said the charges related to offences taking place between January and November 2019, when Bell was in charge of around 700 dairy cattle and 40 calves on his farm in Reporoa, Bay of Plenty, and moved 424 unregistered cattle. 

The cattle were NAIT-tagged; however, they were not registered against his NAIT location prior to their movement, MPI said.

Gray Harrison, MPI national manager, animal welfare and NAIT compliance group, said the registration rules are vital for the country's biosecurity.

"This importance is reflected in amendments to penalties in the NAIT Act, which have increased the maximum penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 for future prosecutions.

"We certainly take it very seriously. Our ability to trace cattle and deer through the NAIT system is a critical factor in managing biosecurity threats which could have a devastating impact on New Zealand's agricultural sector," he said.

"MPI has now secured eight successful prosecutions under the (NAIT) scheme, with another eight prosecutions currently before the court."

Bell's sentence follows the prosecution of Otago farmer Michael John Power, 55, who was charged with failing to register 149 deer. He was fined $3000 in September.