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Govt reckless over bee management and research

Dr Paul Hutchison National Science Spokesperson

17 September 2003

Govt reckless over bee management and research

National says it is appalled at the Government's rejection of funding for New Zealand's only bee research team, contradicting it's own a Ministry of Agriculture report finding that bee varroa mite poses a big risk to the pastoral sector, says National Science Spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison.

"It's appalling that the government is ignoring its own agency MAF, which estimates a loss of $234m a year to the pastoral sector of the South Island if the bee varroa mite crosses Cook Strait. It is important now more than ever that bee mite research is funded," he said.

"It seems incredible that when the whole agricultural and horticultural sector is so dependent on a viable bee industry, that the Government is so reckless and unwilling to commit to the country's bee research unit that has been around for 100 years.

"The Government's also ignored calls for a bee management plan that is backed up by sound research.

"The bee varroa epidemic is far from over and there are many other potential threats to bees. Unfortunately no other government agencies, such as the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, have stepped in to fund bee research.

"Labour spends its time forming committees and talking about big strategies, but it hasn't got the practical sense to fund critical research that will help protect our farmers from serious incursions such as the bee varroa mite.

"The result is that the carelessness of Ministers Sutton and Hodgson over bee management and research will potentially ruin our primary sector," Dr Hutchison said.

Ends

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