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Beekeepers Plan Protest Action

3 April 2006

Beekeepers from around the country will be in Wellington on Tuesday 4th April.

The protest is about the importation of bee products and especially the risks of the importation of bee diseases into New Zealand, how it will affect New Zealand’s economy as a whole, particularly kiwifruit, avocados, pip and stone fruits, small seeds and clover.

Protest coordinator Russell Berry of the Waikato Branch said “This protest will unite the beekeeping industry and the kiwifruit, avocado, pip and stone, small seeds and pastoral farmers in NZ to convince MAF and Government not to allow the importation of bee products into New Zealand. To do so would destroy many sectors of NZ’s economy. Commonsense submissions to MAF seem to have had little effect.”

“The protesting beekeepers plan to meet at the Civic Square at 11am, then between 11.30 and noon, to walk or drive via Mercer Street, Willis Street and Lambton Quay to The Beehive, to Protest and present a signed petition to the Prime Minister Helen Clark or to the Rt. Hon. Jim Anderton and other politicians.” said Mr Berry.

Arrangements have been made with the Wellington authorities by the Waikato Branch beekeepers, to allow the protest.

Russell Berry said “This protest is a chance for all beekeepers of New Zealand to protest together, with people from the kiwifruit, avocado, pip and stone fruit, small seeds industries, and farmers. It doesn’t matter at all whether they belong to the BIG, hobbyist clubs, or they are an NBA member or a beekeeper not affiliated to an organisation. Everybody is being made most welcome.”

Beekeepers are planning to start the protest from both ends of New Zealand.

From Kaitaia in the north and Gore in the south. They will have banners o­n the sides of their bee trucks; and when protesting bee veils will be worn and smokers may be used too.

Beekeepers have been lobbying their local Members of Parliament to stress the effect an introduction of the disease European Foul Brood will have o­n kiwifruit pollination, pip and stone fruit pollination, small seed crops and pollination of clover throughout New Zealand. If European Brood Disease comes into New Zealand the effect for the first few years will be devastating.

The effect on beekeepers will be great, but nothing compared to the effect o­n New Zealand’s economy as a whole, because much is based on pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.


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