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Unfortunate Decision Will Hurt

12 July 2000 Media Release

Unfortunate Decision Will Hurt

National Beekeepers' Association President, Terry Gavin expressed bitter disappointment today in the Government's decision to attempt to only control the Varroa mite, and not eradication.

"There has been a united voice from rural organisations that we must seize the window available now and have a crack at eradication. Most organisations say better to try and fail than have not attempted at all," said Mr Gavin.

"In fact, we have argued that an attempt at eradication is the best form of control. The control options we have seen so far show no attack on Varroa at all. They just have beekeepers lying down and living with it, which is a totally unacceptable course. What will the Government's response be if foot and mouth disease arrives?"

"Obviously, this was the Government's decision to take, but the NBA is still firmly believes that beekeepers' views have been stifled in the technical area."

"Now that we have to live with Varroa, the industry must take the lead. I ask the Minister to help the industry by allowing us to take the lead and develop an action plan for the future that is ours."

"It must not be a plan developed by officials and technicians who have little understanding of the day to day management of bees."

"The NBA AGM and Conference in Gisborne next week is going to be heated. Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and senior Biosecurity staff are due to appear on Wednesday. I expect there will be a very vigorous discussion and questioning centering on the four control options outlined in the MAF control paper."

"These options include a strong program to maintain the South Island's current varroa free status, which is vital to backup the supply of bees to horticulture in infected areas."

"Movement controls will be a key issue. Nothing should be presupposed without full acceptance by all beekeepers."

Mr Gavin concluded that, "This is the saddest day in my 56 years of beekeeping."

ENDS For further information, please contact: Terry Gavin, 09 4331893 Lin McKenzie, 025 357970

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