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Greens Urge Govt To Stop Varroa Spreading

28 November 2000

Greens Urge Govt To Stop Varroa Spreading Onto East Cape

The Green Party is urging MAF to halt plans to spread beehives potentially infected with the Varroa Mite into the as yet unaffected East Cape, where a developing organic honey industry would be threatened.

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP today urged MAF and the Government to redraw the boundary line between the infected zone in the upper North Island with the as yet unaffected zone in the southern half of the North Island to keep the East Cape in the 'clean zone' where it belonged.

"The Green Party is astonished that beekeepers are being allowed to transport hives from the Varroa infected area into the East Cape where Varroa has yet to appear," he said.

The East Cape is developing fledgling industries based on the unique antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the local manuka and these industries have been encouraged with assistance from the Government's Community Employment Group (CEG).

Mr Ewen-Street said unnecessarily risking the spread of the Varroa mite to the area would be a blow to regional development and employment in the area.

"This is a ridiculous situation. The Government has invested time, money and resources to encourage regional development and employment on the East Cape, only for another branch of Government to come along and threaten it," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said compromising regional development initiatives on the East Cape was at odds with the Government's commitment to Closing The Gaps. He said that in under-developed areas such as the East Cape the Government should ensure all its agencies were fully supporting regional development initiatives.

Mr Ewen-Street said he understood that hives from Varroa-infected areas would be transported into the East Cape within the next two weeks unless MAF or the Government instructed otherwise.

He said he would be writing to Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton to ask him to redraw the boundary line along the line of the Whakatane River to protect the East Cape from the spread of Varroa. (Map attached).

"What we have here is a ludicrous situation," he said. "We should not be allowing Varroa to spread faster than it already is. On the contrary we should be protecting those areas which are free of the mite - especially those areas who could really benefit from remaining Varroa free."

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