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That the annual fee payable to MPI for small production artisan cheesemakers, is based on their actual milk solids total in a given season.

The difficulty the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has with Dairy Products (milk, cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt, milk and whey powder,) is that on the one hand it is a very valuable export commodity for New Zealand and on the other, the MPI food safety bureaucrats regard anything to do with Dairy Production and the making of any food item based on Dairy as a Very High Risk Operation fraught with Food Safety Danger. Consequently they have devised various monitoring strategies to deal with these perceived dangers.  Costly Fees, Fines and the Filling in of Forms are a major part of their defence arsenal.

 Once a year, a letter is sent out by the Minister of Agriculture to dairy operators requesting information on Dairy Cow Milksolids Collection. A form has to be filled in with a note at the bottom saying “Failure to comply with the requirements of s147 (4) of the Act to keep records in this form, without reasonable excuse, constitutes an offence under s118 of the Act and can result in a fine of up to $200,000.

There is an exemption: Dairy processors who collect a total of less than 2,000 kg per season are exempt from completing this form.

People like me breathe a sigh of relief, as last year, a very good and productive one for me, the milk from my 4 Jersey cows produced a total of 1,200 kg of cheese made, well under this limit.  However this does not mean that the annual fee for Dairy Monitoring to MPI is not charged. This fee is charged in steps, Fonterra, obviously, is charged at the highest level. The lowest level is for operators who produce less that 16,500 kg of milk solids, which in my case is some 15 times more than Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese produces…..

 I ask, in this petition, that the annual fee payable to MPI for small production artisan cheesemakers, is based on their actual milk solids total in a given season. 

A suitable formula would be:  

The lowest fee payable ($465) multiplied by the actual milk solids produced by the artisan cheesemaker, divided by the lowest level set by MPI.

This would mean the actual fee charged was based on the actual milk solids collected - a much fairer way of apportioning the costs.

 I have been advised that were there more petitioners asking for this consideration, the chances would be stronger that it would be acted on. To this end, I ask those interested to join me in this petition.  

 Biddy Fraser-Davies,

Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese,

36 Morgans Road, RD2  Eketahuna 4994, New Zealand.

This petition was delivered to:
  • To the Hon Jo Goodhew MP, New Zealand Minister for Food Safety


    Biddy Fraser-Davies started this petition with a single signature, and now has 270 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.