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Bumbling kills off possibility of eradication

"Misguided bumbling by an incompetent minister has seen the prospect of eradicating the varroa mite slip through the Government's fingers," National's David Carter said today.

"Biosecurity Minister Marian Hobbs has been supposedly working on this issue for 14 weeks. But she's failed to rise to that important task, and today's admission that she's been beaten by a mite comes as little surprise.

"If she'd got to grips with the issue quickly then eradication of the bee mite may have been a real possibility.

"But Marian Hobbs failed to take it seriously - playing down the significance of the infestation. On the Holmes programme (April 13th 2000) she said '"It isn't quite the tragedy that people are talking about'.

"Her response was too little too late, and her dilly-dallying is directly responsible for the fact we're now stuck with varroa.

"The Prime Minister must share some of that blame. Three months ago she said Ms Hobbs needed a 'political minder'. Perhaps if she'd follow through on that belief, and a minder had been appointed, Marian Hobbs may have been pushed to take proper control of the issue.

"Bees are productive, efficient creatures. This blunder shows the current occupants of the Beehive are not," David Carter said.

Ends

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