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Government Should Not Repeat Costly Tb Mistake

2 June 2000 PR45/2000

GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT REPEAT COSTLY Tb MISTAKE

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) has called on the Government to support a full eradication programme for the Varroa mite so as not to make the same mistakes as was done with Tb.

In the late 70's, bovine Tb was restricted to a small part of the West Coast. The Government of the day reduced its spending on control programmes, leaving the disease to spread rapidly throughout New Zealand.

Vice President Tom Lambie said that the Government must look beyond the short-term, and support a comprehensive eradication effort.

"The example of the spread of bovine Tb throughout New Zealand shows the danger of the Government taking a short-term view of disease control funding," said Mr Lambie.

"New Zealand could have got on top of Tb in the late 70's if the Government had maintained its contribution. New Zealand is still paying for that decision today."

"If the Government pulls out of paying for an eradication, then New Zealand will pay a much higher price in the long-term."

"Overseas attempts to manage and control the mite have failed after 10 to 15 years. Management is not a viable long-term option."

"It is far better economics to go for eradication and end the mite's presence in New Zealand. Bee pollination earns the horticulture and pastoral industries many millions a year. It is quite clear that the benefits will outweigh the costs."

ENDS For further information: Tom Lambie 026-113-161 or 03-614-7019 Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269

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