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Still fighting for bees

24 September 2008

Still fighting for bees

Chairman of Federated Farmers Bees, John Hartnell says today's announcement by MAF Biosecurity New Zealand confirming the revoking of all movement controls associated with the varroa bee mite is disappointing but not unexpected.

Biosecurity New Zealand has confirmed today varroa infestation over a wide geographic area in the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts.

Mr Hartnell says industry members would still like to discuss with MAF Biosecurity the opportunity for a southern control line so as to delay the arrival of the devastating mite in the south.

"The fight won't be over until varroa reaches Bluff," Mr Hartnell said.

"The opportunity to eradicate varroa in the South Island was lost in 2006 when the government withdrew its earlier commitment to South Island beekeepers for an eradication attempt."

"Today Mr Anderton said drawing lines in the sand or on a map doesn't make any difference to bees as they fly right past them. However, the bee industry would suggest a defendable line could have been drawn on the Wellington coast as flying over the Cook Strait would be at the absolute extreme of a bee's ability."

Mr Hartnell said on a positive note Federated Farmers Bees is pleased to see MAF Biosecurity putting forward the option of the remaining varroa operational funds going to help South Island beekeepers through workshops, education, research and ongoing hive test surveillance.

Mr Hartnell said further consultation is expected over the next 10 days.


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