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Varroa board of inquiry appointed

Varroa board of inquiry appointed

The board to investigate a proposed Varroa National Pest Management Strategy has been appointed, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The three board members selected to provide an appropriate mix of public policy, technical and epidemiological skills, as well as knowledge of the bee industry and the pastoral sector, are: Denise Church, Brian Mason, and Helen Benard.

Denise Church, the presiding member, is a former chief executive of the Ministry for the Environment. She has been closely involved with the management of new policy development in biodiversity, oversight for developing, reviewing and implementing the Resource Management Act, and overseeing the establishment of ERMA New Zealand.

Brian Mason is a veterinarian with 40 years' experience, including nine years on the New Zealand Veterinary Association Council, and is an experienced Southland farmer.

The third board member, Helen Benard, is an epidemiologist with extensive varroa experience, due to her previous role as an Exotic Disease Investigator for the National Centre for Disease Investigation.

Mr Sutton said Ms Church brought significant public policy experience and skills to the board. Dr Mason provided a regional perspective, as a South Island member of the board. He is also an Environment Southland councillor, providing an important regional council perspective to the board. Dr Benard brought important technical skills to the board, as both an epidemiologist and assomeone who has worked with the beekeeping industry during the initial response to varroa in New Zealand.

The board of inquiry will hold hearings and review the proposal and submissions made on the proposed strategy, before providing Mr Sutton with recommendations, in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 1993. The board will hold several public hearings in Wellington and around the South Island over late May and early June. Those who made submissions on the proposal will be invited to speak and call evidence. Members of the public may attend these hearings as observers.

A summary of submissions received is available from the MAF website at www.maf.govt.nz/varroa. The submissions are available for inspection at MAF, 101-103 The Terrace, Wellington.

ENDS

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