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No guarantee honey imports free of disease

Shane Ardern MP
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman
4 April 2006

Minister can’t guarantee honey imports free of disease

The honey industry protest march on Parliament today would have been unnecessary if we had a biosecurity minister who understood the portfolio, says National Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

“With so many biosecurity threats sneaking through our borders, the last thing New Zealand needs is a Minister risking further costs and environmental damage by allowing imported honey into the country.

“But Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton refused in the House today to guarantee that imported honey would be free of risk.

”Honey producers are worried that imported honey will bring in European Foulbrood disease.

“This disease could not only affect our natural honey supplies but more importantly the horticultural and agricultural sectors, which rely on pollination.

“The cost of Didymo – another biosecurity incursion - has been put at up to $285 million by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.

“The cost to our honey industry and ongoing effects on the agricultural sector could be much higher.

“New Zealand is one of the few countries that is free of European Foulbrood. Our honey is also free of the antibiotics that are used in so many other places because of this disease.

“The purity of our honey makes it a sought-after export commodity. It is not worth the risk, and the Minister must take a firm line on this important issue by refusing to allow imported honey into New Zealand.”

ENDS

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