New Zealand and Australia have agreed to work together more closely on measures to combat foot and mouth disease.
A memorandum of understanding to that effect was signed when Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and his Australian counterpart, Barnaby Joyce, met in Melbourne last week.
Mr Guy said the two countries would collaborate on exercises to improve the ability on both sides of the Tasman to respond to any oubreak of the devastating livestock disease.
"We've been working with Australia very closely for the last couple or years, he said. "This year it means we're going to work even closer than we have before.
"We're going to rub shoulders with them on a live exercise up in Nepal.
"In a couple of months time we're going to send up a group of about 10 New Zealanders.
"They'll be front line veterinarians, MPI officials and also industry leaders".