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Sunday 2 Jul 2000

The Government must take the whole bee industry into account when it makes a decision on the Verroa Bee mite tomorrow, said ACT agriculture spokesman Gerry Eckhoff.

Cabinet will decide tomorrow what course of action is to be taken over the Verroa bee mite. Industry commentators believe the decision is between control, favoured by North island pollination traders, and eradication favoured by South Island honey makers.

“The Government must decide what is best for the entire agricultural sector. Clearly cost cannot be an issue as Government support for the arts indicates. Cash for the ballet but not the bees?

“Many in the bee industry favour complete eradication. This is a view supported by the wider agriculture sector who are increasingly frustrated by Marion Hobbs’ consistent hand wringing over the issue.

South Island apiarists fear the control option as it may significantly retard honey production. Pollination contracts for Kiwifruit and horticultural crops, a large part of the North Island industry, may not be as badly affected.

“If the decision is to go with control, rather than eradication, the Government will need to demonstrate a transparent decision making process and a scientific basis for their choice.

“Costly bureaucratic inaction fails to recognise the great risk the Verroa bee mite poses to our export earning capacity,” said Gerry Eckhoff.


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