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Board Of Inquiry To Be Held Into Varroa Strategy

Board Of Inquiry To Be Held Into Varroa Strategy

A Board of Inquiry will be held into a proposed Varroa National Pest Management Strategy, due to a lack of agreement among South Island beekeepers on the contents of the proposal, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the submissions he received showed some submitters were opposed to the strategy on technical grounds, such as the feasibility of eradication, while others considered it an essential means of keeping the South Island free of varroa.

"Due to the diversity of opinion among South Island beekeepers, I have called for a Board of Inquiry to look into the proposed Varroa strategy. This will give all interested parties a chance to put their views to an independent body."

The bee-killing varroa mite has spread through much of the North Island, but has still not been found in the South Island. The proposed strategy contains measures to prevent the mite from spreading to the South Island and to ensure its early detection should it arrive in the South Island. The strategy was proposed by the Varroa Planning Group, made up of representatives from the arable, pastoral, horticultural and beekeeping industries, local government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Board of Inquiry will hold hearings and review the proposal and submissions made on it, before providing Mr Sutton with recommendations on the proposed strategy. The appointment process for members of the Board of Inquiry is underway, and the Board is likely to be appointed by the end of April.

MAF will maintain existing inter-island movement controls on all beekeeping equipment until Mr Sutton has received the Board's recommendations and made a decision on the proposed strategy.

MAF will also carry out varroa surveillance in high-risk areas of the South Island during autumn 2004.


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