NZ concerns over foot and mouth

·1-min read

New Zealand is ramping up defences against "doomsday disease" foot and mouth, but has stropped short of a ban on travel.

Jacinda Ardern says her country will rely significantly on Australia and is working hand in glove with Australian authorities to avoid a devastating outbreak in New Zealand.

New Zealand has never had an outbreak of the disease, relying - like Australia - on strict rules to keep it out.

Biosecurity New Zealand has banned personal importations of meat products from Indonesia and will ask travellers to use chemical footbaths at airports.

There are also increased checks on baggage and containers from Indonesia.

"Foot and mouth disease has been always considered the doomsday disease for the New Zealand farming sector," Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.

"Vigilance is absolutely crucial ... we've got detector dogs, and we've got very high and strong import health standards."

Agriculture is a $NZ52 billion ($A46.9 billion) industry in New Zealand, and industry groups speculate an outbreak could cost around $NZ10 billion ($A9 billion).

Ms Ardern said an outbreak would "devastate our national herd", especially if it got into wild pig, goat and deer population.

"Essentially all animals who are cloven-hooved are at risk: cows, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and llama," she said.

"All trade and animal products would be stopped and rural businesses such as farms from contractors, and all processes and transporters would be affected.

"Animals would be slaughtered and more than 100,000 jobs in the primary sector would be at risk."

Ms Ardern said New Zealand was also giving Indonesia "PPE, disinfectant sprays and other tools as well as technical expertise to help them manage their outbreak".

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