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Govt Admit Varroa Failure, Must Learn Lessons

4 September 2002

Govt Admit Varroa Failure, Must Learn Lessons

Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said he was disturbed that the Government appears to be doing nothing to stop the varroa bee mite spreading to the South Island.

In response to an oral question from Mr Ewen-Street in parliament this afternoon Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton today said he expected the varroa mite to reach the South Island and he outlined no Government strategy or action to prevent this from happening.

"I am really disappointed in the Minister's attitude," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"The Government's response to the initial discovery of varroa was slow and indecisive and now Government appear to be resigned to it spreading across the entire country.

"The South Island is one of a very few areas in the world that is free of varroa and this status is a huge economic opportunity. Bee farmers in the South Island will be very disappointed that Government is not even prepared to try and keep varroa out," he said.

"I do hope that Government learn lessons from the handling of the varroa incursion. If strong, decisive leadership had been taken from day one and a comprehensive eradication effort launched the whole of New Zealand could still be varroa free," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Instead Government dithered for more than three months before deciding not to even attempt eradication. We will now never know how things could have been if this had been handled differently."


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