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NBA Still Strongly Favours Eradication

Media Release

30 June 2000

NBA Still Strongly Favours Eradication

"The National Beekeepers Association is urging Cabinet to opt for eradication when it meets on Monday to consider the Government's response to the Varroa mite crisis," said NBA President Terry Gavin today.

"The overwhelming majority opinion of beekeepers across New Zealand is strong support for eradicating the Varroa mite. A teleconference of all 16 NBA Branches this morning confirmed that there is still majority support for eradication."

"The NBA urges the Cabinet to carefully weigh the implications of a decision that deprives the beekeeping industry of its right to earn a living and to keep New Zealand a world leader in beekeeping."

"By putting up with a short-term (two or three year) eradication programme, we will also be able to maintain the feral population once the programme is over. Feral bees are significant pollinators of both commercial crops and home gardens."

"Beekeepers are concerned that people do not appreciate the potential impact on all of New Zealand that trying to live with Varroa means. As well as the well-documented long-term economic costs to the whole economy if the mite becomes established, there is the cost to the pollination industry in the short-term to consider as well."

"No Varroa means pollination services will be kept at a reasonable price for all crops and there should not have to be rationing of hives for pollination."

"The social cost of accepting Varroa's presence is concerning. Many beekeepers will go out of business if the mite stays."

"Their businesses are in real peril if the Government calls it wrong, and there will be even greater economic stress on struggling provinces as beekeepers close up businesses."

"It is also important to remember that if New Zealand has to live with this bug, our honey industry will lose its chemical-free status. The sad reality is that the only known ways to effectively control the mite require applying chemicals to beehives. Even if the chemicals are safe, modern consumers are increasingly shy of chemical treatment of their food," concluded Mr Gavin

ENDS For further information: Terry Gavin 09 4331893 Lin McKenzie 025-357-970

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