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Bitter Beekeepers Not Sweetened by Honey Imports

11 July 2006

Bitter Beekeepers Not Sweetened by Honey Imports

The National Beekeepers Association which represents beekeepers the length of the country is bitterly disappointed with the Biosecurity New Zealand decision to issue the import health standard for the importation of honey and bee products from Australia.

President Jane Lorimer says that "the NBA remains concerned that the risks of importation of disease have not been managed down to a level that is acceptable to New Zealand beekeepers. In fact we see that the Government is about to allow the importation of live Melissococcus pluton bacteria which does not occur in New Zealand."

"The NBA continues to ask whether the reduction using heat treatment is sufficient when we do not know the initial level of bacteria present and whether the remaining level will still constitute an infectious dose ?"

"We are disappointed that despite asking for a response to our letter identifying Nosema ceranae as a new disease risk, that the first the NBA saw of a response was in the release made today by Biosecurity New Zealand." said Jane Lorimer.

"Beekeepers realise that there is an obligation to trade on international terms, but Biosecurity New Zealand has ignored the beekeepers request for an independent review."

Jane Lorimer says that "Beekeepers will hold the Government to account for any introduction of a new disease with these imports."

"Beekeepers are very concerned with the on-going pressures on beekeeping in New Zealand and the difficulties ahead in meeting the pollination demands in the horticulture and agricultural sectors. There is already a prediction for there to be a significant shortfall of 72,000 hives for pollination by 2015. The current Varroa outbreak in Nelson is not helping that prospect."

The National Beekeepers Association Annual Conference is being held in Hamilton next week.


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