Welcome to NAIT

Why we need NAIT

New Zealand's National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme is an identification system that links people, property and livestock. It was developed to identify and trace livestock (cattle and deer) within New Zealand and can provide, fast, reliable and accurate information on stock location and movements.

The need for an identification system has arisen from three main sources:

Improving consumer confidence: There is a growing expectation internationally from importing countries, corporations and consumers for better information about the source of food products. A traceability system is vital in retaining access to international markets for our exports. It also allows us to get back to business sooner if there is a biosecurity incursion or food safety concern in the future. 

Improving disease management: New Zealand's primary industries are a key element to our economic success. Cattle (including dairy), deer and sheep account for more than $12 billion in exports every year. Existing disease in New Zealand, such as bovine tuberculosis (TB) can benefit from a traceability scheme. We can use the information collected to trace back to the originating source and implement testing regimes. Risk of new exotic disease incursions is increasing as the volume of trade and tourists increase. Overseas countries are demanding better proof of freedom from disease, using evidence based programmes.

Improving food traceability: There is a need to provide evidence of trace back to source, if a food safety risk or animal disease risk is identified.

How NAIT benefits New Zealand

In the event of a biosecurity incursion, such as a disease outbreak, NAIT will provide important information to help identify which animals may have been exposed to disease. This means we can get in contact with the right people and contain the disease with movement restrictions. This will allow trade to resume sooner and with less economic disruption.

Analysis in 2009 showed a benefit of $141 million over 20 years to the New Zealand economy from implementing the NAIT scheme. This was based on the inclusion of cattle and deer. Without NAIT there is a risk of losing market share and value if a disease outbreak were to occur.

The Crown would also benefit from NAIT through reduced biosecurity costs, from having more reliable information on individual animals.