Most watched: Heartbroken Canterbury farmer weeps as his cows are taken for slaughter, amid Mycoplasma bovis

Note: This story first ran on Tuesday May 15

Frank Peters struggled to contain his emotions as he talked about sending 670 cows to their deaths as the Mycoplasma bovis disease spreads. Source: 1 NEWS

A Canterbury farmer wept today as he watched a truck load of his dairy cows taken away for slaughter as part of a cull sparked by the spread of the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis in parts of the country.

None of Frank Peters' cows has tested positive for the disease, but some had raised antibodies and his herd of 670 cows will be killed.

Mr Peters knew this was coming, but it still hurts him and he had to momentarily break off an interview with 1 NEWS to contain his emotions.

Frank Peters says having to cull his stock is an overreaction. Source: 1 NEWS

"Yeah it does. It doesn't matter what you say, nobody can say anything," he said.

"But it is what it is. As farmers we move on. It's still taking a bit. The scars won't go away no matter what. They'll never go away. The thing is when people come along and make decisions, the things that are beyond your control, it does hurt and it continues to hurt."

The cull has been ordered by the Ministry of Primary Industries and so far more than 22,000 cattle have been killed.

The total could reach up to 60,000.

"I still want these guys to stop. The thing is there's no need, it's just senseless killing," Mr Peters said.

He said Mycoplasma bovis has been in many other countries and has been controlled in them. 

"Farmers need to turn around and actually stand up and stand up together, because at this moment in time this government needs to make that decision and stop this process," he said.

"Don't be scared of this disease. There is nothing to be scared about. If you are a bloody good farmer you won't have a problem with it," Mr Peters said. 

The disease was yesterday confirmed at a farm in Waikato for the first time, taking the total to 39 properties, but the number is expected to rise as testing continues.

Slip closes state highway north of New Plymouth

A large slip has closed a major highway north of New Plymouth, forcing motorists to take a lengthy detour.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is asking people to avoid State Highway 3, near the Mt Messenger Tunnel.

The slip is covering both lanes and the road could be closed for at least three hours, said NZTA system manager, Ross I'Anson in a statement released about 4.40pm.

He said State Highway4 or State Highway 1 can be used but they will add a significant amount of time to a journey.

Road closed


'High handed arrogant approach' – Simon Bridges accuses PM of not listening to business over minimum wage increase

National Party leader Simon Bridges and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a spirited exchange in Parliament today over business confidence after the recent minimum wage increase.

Mr Bridges pointed to a survey which he said shows business confidence is down in New Zealand since the Labour Government came into office and accused Ms Ardern of waving their issues away in her answers during Question Time.

"Is the Prime Minister saying that business confidence doesn't matter and isn't that an incredibly high handed arrogant approach to take?" Mr Bridges asked.

"No, I have in fact myself said that I am very keen to make sure that a survey of perception matches reality," Ms Ardern answered.

After more pressing by the National leader on the survey Ms Ardern attempted to squash the line of questioning.

"You'll forgive me by not wanting to let anyone get ahead of themselves before the budget comes out," she said, before finishing with "two more sleeps."

Earlier this year the minimum wage rose 75 cents to $16.50.