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Government to work with beekeepers on varroa

23 August 2006

Government to work with beekeepers on varroa elimination

The Government decided today to allocate an additional $1.25 million to the management programme for varroa in the South Island. This funding is to allow Biosecurity New Zealand to work closely with beekeepers on a programme to reduce varroa levels in Nelson.

The Labour-Progressive Government welcomes the innovative collaboration with the industry group, and is pleased to support the joint programme. The additional funding allows Biosecurity New Zealand to undertake additional varroa management measures in association with beekeepers without sacrificing the movement control and education programme that is necessary for long-term management of varroa in the South Island.

"Since our decision on the 2nd August 2006 to manage varroa in the South Island, beekeepers and other stakeholders from the horticultural and arable sectors and the Varroa Agency have identified additional measures they wish to pursue," Jim Anderton said.

"The industry's proposed programme requires support from Biosecurity New Zealand that cannot be provided within the funding already provided for the management of varroa. I advised the Cabinet today that an additional $1.25 million is required for Biosecurity New Zealand to support these measures. The government has agreed to provide this funding to enable Biosecurity New Zealand to work in partnership with affected industries.

The key parts of the varroa elimination are destruction, or relocation to the North Island, of managed hives in the infested area, and eradication of feral colonies (which otherwise may act as a reservoir of mite re-infestation) through a programme of baiting and poisoning.

"Beekeepers are meeting significant costs by taking responsibility for removing managed hives, and contributing labour and materials for the elimination of feral bee hives.

"Beekeepers are hopeful that the programme could eliminate varroa from the Nelson region. Even if this is not achieved, reducing varroa levels in Nelson should slow the spread to other regions in the South Island.

"The elimination programme remains contingent on several critical issues, such as no further finds of varroa outside the infected area, and confirmation that the proposed poisoning of feral bees poses no human health or food safety risks," Jim Anderton said today in Wellington.


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