On a Friday last August, two weeks into the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, the Ministry for Primary Industries issued a press release to try and reassure the public.
Response director Geoff Gwyn said good progress was being made and “extensive and thorough testing” was being done where the disease was present. The ministry’s Animal Health Laboratory, in Wallaceville, Upper Hutt, had processed about 1200 samples to date, he said.
“Our labs (sic) teams are working quickly and thoroughly seven days a week, and we have increased staff numbers to carry out the work.”
That message confused MPI’s director of diagnostics and surveillance services Veronica Herrera, who asked the Animal Health Laboratory manager if they approved that release. On Sunday, two days after Gwyn’s statement was issued, Herrera wrote: “My main concern was that we were talking about not working on Sunday and perhaps only a half day on Sat and then I see this coming.” She adds: “I don’t think seven days a week is sustainable based on our discussion on Friday.”