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Beekeepers Support March on Parliament

3 April 2006

Beekeepers Support March on Parliament

Proposed new import health standards for bee products pose an unnecessary biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s bee industry, says Lin McKenzie, chairman of Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group.

Beekeepers from around the country will be in Wellington on Tuesday protesting against the importation of bee products which could have devastating effects on the bee industry.

“The Bee Industry Group considers the level of risk posed by the importation of honey bee products is too high,” said Mr McKenzie.

“More research is needed to understand bee diseases so that appropriate risk management mechanisms can be identified. Until this research has been done, there is a risk of unwittingly importing honey bee products carrying bee diseases,” said Mr McKenzie.

Another significant bee disease would be devastating for the bee industry. The flow on effects for the horticultural and pastoral sectors, which rely on bees for pollination, would also be significant.

“This is an important issue facing our industry as well as the wider agricultural sector and Federated Farmers’Bee Industry Group will be in Wellington to show their full support and backing of the protest.

“The Government let us down with Varroa, which should have never entered the country, and now they are opening the door to more diseases. The Import Health Standards pave the way for another biosecurity blunder,” Mr McKenzie said.

“The health and viability of the bee industry and the future pollination for the horticultural and pastoral sectors are at stake. The ramifications of this import health standard are potentially huge to the New Zealand economy,” concluded Mr McKenzie.

The protest will start in Civic Square at 11am and conclude at the Beehive where protesters will present a signed petition to the Prime Minister Helen Clark or to Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton.

ENDS

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