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Disestablishment of the Varroa Agency Inc.

September 26, 2007

Disestablishment of the Varroa Agency Inc.

The Varroa Agency will begin the process of disestablishing its operations.

The decision was taken by the Varroa Agency members at its Annual General Meeting in Christchurch on September 21.

This follows on from the discovery of varroa bee mite in Nelson in June 2006, the subsequent Government decision not to attempt eradication of varroa from the South Island, and the decision by beekeepers following this year's round of consultation not to pay a further levy for future surveillance.

The Varroa Agency, funded by South Island regional and unitary councils and the bee industry, was formed in 2005 to implement the Varroa Pest Management Strategy in an attempt to prevent the spread of the bee-killing varroa bee mite from the North Island. Its responsibilities had included education, and managing a varroa monitoring programme on South Island beehives and a permitting system for varroa border control from the North Island to the South.

Varroa Agency board chairman Duncan Butcher thanks all beekeepers and councils for their support over the last three years. "I believe that what was achieved sets a good model for the control and handling of any further biosecurity incursions into New Zealand," he said.

The disestablishment process will begin in October. Before seeking to revoke the Pest Management Strategy, the Agency will consult with MAF Biosecurity on border control being transferred to MAF, and the Agency will start the process of winding-up its financial operation.

It may be possible, if there is remaining money, for it to be used for a research or education programme for beekeepers that would fit the criteria of the Agency's deed. This will be done in consultation with stakeholders. Any remaining funds after this would have to be given or used for charitable purposes, as this is the wind-up clause in the Agency's trust deed.

The Agency had completed its autumn varroa surveillance programme in June, which identified that varroa has not moved outside the Controlled Area around Nelson Marlborough and is still reasonably close to those apiaries where it was first found. The Agency is also still carrying out the border control work of issuing permits and inspection, for bee and honey movements between the North and South Island.


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