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NZBIG Welcomes Varroa Announcement

NEW ZEALAND BEE INDUSTRY GROUP

28 November 2003

PR 241/03

NZBIG Welcomes Varroa Announcement

The New Zealand Bee Industry Group welcomes the Minister of Agriculture's advertisement of a National Pest Management Strategy to stop Varroa entering the South Island says Milton Jackson Chairman, New Zealand Bee Industry Group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc)

The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Jim Sutton has advertised the proposal for a National Pest Management Strategy for Varroa. Submissions close on 30 January 2004.

"The Varroa Pest Management Strategy is a vital tool to detect at an early stage when Varroa arrives in the South Island. The detection of the Varroa mite at the earliest possible stage is critical to the Government being able to mount a successful eradication programme.

"The cost of Varroa becoming established in the South Island has been documented at up to $433 million in the worst case scenario.

"The strategy locks a movement control line at Cook Strait in place. Without the strategy and its surveillance tools, there would be no way of knowing if Varroa enters the South Island. Figures from a 2001 study[1] show the added cost of managing hives with Varroa could force up to 40 percent of South Island beekeepers out of the industry (based on 2001 returns).

"The announcement of the Pest Management Strategy is a good example of inter-industry and local government cooperation. I hope this continues as we work together to prevent Varroa from entering the South Island," Mr Jackson concluded.

ENDS

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