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New Organisms Bill: Rush Not Worth the Risk

22 February 2007
Rush Not Worth the Risk

Federated Bees is extremely concerned that important legislation is being rushed through without time for proper consultation from industry.

The legislation relates to the government introduced Bill, to urgently amend the Biosecurity Act and Hazardous Substance and New Organism Act, to resolve issues in managing the risk to New Zealand from incidentally imported new organisms.

The reason given for the urgency is issues arising from a Court of Appeal judgment in favour of the bee industry that according to the Crown creates an unworkable legal framework for management of risks at the New Zealand border.

A select committee has been set up with only one week for industry to prepare submissions to the Bill.

Federated Farmers is calling for a longer, more considered hearing.

“If amendments are made unchallenged we are creating greater risk of importing an incidental new pest or disease into New Zealand that industry will end up paying for one way or the other, said Federated Farmers Bee chair John Hartnell.

“Should a new bee-related pest or disease establish itself in New Zealand the cost to horticulture and agriculture will be substantial with long term detrimental affects.

“Federated Farmers is disappointed by the urgency with which changes are being enacted and would recommend a longer more considered hearing.

“Since its inception in 1993 there have been 13 considered amendments to the Biosecurity Act. Although it is understood biosecurity officials were aware of the legislative problems for a number of years at no time were amendments made to relevant sections – this has only been bought about due to the bee industry winning against the Crown. Now everything is frantic to ensure legislation is fixed.

“The process for any significant amendments needs to be measured and should not be rushed – industry, especially the bee sector needs the opportunity to have its say.

“The government’s objective is to ensure Acts can be applied to importation of new organisms in the way intended. Federated Farmers can understand what the government is trying to achieve but is adamant there is no rush.

“Proper consultation must be given to industries directly affected by this bill. One week is not enough,”

“Federated Farmers will be seeking meetings with Minister and Chair of Primary Select Committee to outline concerns,” said Mr Hartnell.

Bee case relates to National Beekeepers’ Association challenging import health standard as unlawful in relation to risk of a new organism (P. alvei) being incidentally imported on honey or bee products from Australia.


ENDS

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