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More Delays To Varroa Strategy

More Delays To Varroa Strategy

The government's decision to appoint a board of inquiry into the proposed Varroa pest management strategy will disappoint the vast majority of South Island beekeepers, said Milton Jackson, Chairman of the New Zealand Bee Industry Group (BIG).

"The only way that the bee industry will keep Varroa out of the South Island is to have a pest management strategy (PMS). This will give the strategy's managers the statutory muscle and the funding to maintain strict border controls across Cook Strait," he said.

There are approximately 100,000 bee hives in the Varroa-free South Island, and about 200,000 in the North Island, much of which is infected with Varroa. The bee mite cannot be exterminated so must be controlled using a fumigant.

Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today that appointments to the board would be made by late April.

"Those are just the appointments. The inquiry must then hold hearings and review the proposal and submissions, before providing the minister with recommendations on the proposed strategy," Mr Jackson said.

"These are just more delays and prolong a period of heightened risk that Varroa will spread to the South Island. The least the minister could have done is convened the board at an earlier time," he said.

NZ BIG helped develop and is a strong supporter of the PMS, and wants it implemented as soon as possible.

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