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Political tussle over micro-chipping

Published: 10:09AM Wednesday May 03, 2006 Source: RNZ

Federated Farmers plans to continue a campaign against micro-chipping dogs for identification purposes, despite attempts to block the plan hitting an obstacle.

The Green Party effectively stymied a National Party move to push for an amendment to local government legislation exempting working dogs from micro-chipping.

The legislation is due to take effect for newly registered dogs in July.

The Greens say they will not support an exemption for some dogs, but would agree to dumping micro-chipping altogether, except for those dogs deemed to be a threat.
National says it is also willing to go down that track.  But while United Future holds out for an exemption rather than the complete removal of micro-chipping, there is doubt that opponents of micro-chipping can get the numbers they need to defeat it in parliament.

National's David Carter has already put forward one amendment to get farm dogs exempt.

Carter says parties are taking illogical stands because they are under pressure from Helen Clark not to embarrass the government over the issue.

United Future MP Gordon Copeland says micro-chipping urban dogs will make New Zealand safer, but acknowledges farm dogs should be treated differently.

Federated Farmers vice-president Don Nicholson says they will be talking to United Future about whether it will continue holding out for a working dogs exemption when others have moved from that position.

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says her party would be prepared to put forward an amendment to remove the micro-chipping requirement for all dogs.

Hawke's Bay Federated Farmers member Kevin Mitchell, who organised a recent protest march against microchipping, says political manoeuvring won't dampen the growing opposition, or make any difference to the outcome.

Mitchell says people don't believe the law will make any difference to the number of dog attacks.

Local government legislation under which the changes could be made, will not return to the House for a number of weeks.