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Rural Women applauds Varroa mite elimination plans

25 August 2006

Rural Women New Zealand applauds Varroa mite elimination plans

Rural Women New Zealand President, Sherrill Dackers, today congratulated the Government on its decision to allocate an additional $1.25 million for the war on varroa in the top of the South Island, following pressure from beekeepers, seed growers and farmers.

“We commend the Government on its support for beekeepers’ initiatives to totally eradicate varroa in the Nelson and Marlborough area, rather than simply managing the pest through movement control and education programmes.

“We also congratulate the beekeepers, Federated Farmers and industry stakeholders for their rigorous lobbying which led to the Government’s change of heart. The Government’s original decision on 2 August to manage varroa by slowing its spread in the South Island, rather than attempting to eradicate it, failed to take full account of the far-reaching environmental and economic effects of the pest.

“We support the beekeepers’ proactive approach in sending hundreds of hives to the North Island and eradicating feral colonies through baiting and poisoning. If there is any chance of removing this pest from the South Island, then we must take the opportunity to do so,” said Mrs Dackers.

Varroa mite infestation would reduce pollination of crops, affecting orchardists, pastoral and arable farmers, seed producers and horticulturalists. Costs could run into the billions of dollars. And the results would not just be felt in the pocket. Poor pollination of nitrogen-fixing white clover would see the need for greater use of fertilizer, and have a negative flow-on effect on the environment.

ENDS


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