28 Sep 2022

Government passes bill to ban livestock exports by sea

7:37 pm on 28 September 2022
No caption

Livestock exports by sea will cease from 30 April 2023. Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Livestock exports by sea will cease next year, after the government passed a bill to ban them.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the ban would protect New Zealand's reputation for world-leading animal welfare standards.

The Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy in September 2020, where 6000 cattle and 41 crew died, highlighted the real risks, he said.

But National and ACT did not support the bill, with ACT saying officials warned the ban would cause an economic loss to rural communities.

The ban kicks in on 30 April - but livestock exports by air will still be allowed due to shorter travel times.

Figures from Stats NZ show more than 100,000 breeding cattle were shipped to China in 2020, to the value of $255.89 million.

The National Party said it would review the new law banning livestock animal exports by sea, if it got into government.

National's animal welfare spokesperson Nicola Grigg said the ban was as disproportionate, as it was ideological and signalled economic pain for farmers and consumers.

Grigg said rather than an outright ban, the government should legislate for a gold-standard compliance programme.

  • Ministry for Primary Industries investigates accusations of mistreatment of live export cattle
  • National opposing live animal export ban at select committee
  • Live cattle export ships continue to depart
  • Government announces ban for live cattle exports by sea