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Federated Farmers Condemns Government Inaction

Federated Farmers Condemns Government Inaction On Varroa

Federated Farmers delegates today condemned the Government's failure to attempt eradicating the Varroa mite that will destroy the New Zealand beekeeping industry.

The delegates at the 2000 National Council/Conference in Christchurch passed a resolution completely rejecting the Government's official position that the Varroa mite cannot be successfully eradicated.

President Alistair Polson said that the delegates - farm leaders representing dairy, arable and grains farmers from across New Zealand - could not accept the official policy that eradication should not be attempted.

"The Conference believes that insufficient weight was given to the benefit of eradication, as opposed to the long-term ongoing cost of pest management strategies," said Mr Polson. "The Prime Minister did touch on the Government's Varroa policy in her speech, but this left the delegates unmoved."

Mr Polson said that the federation would keep up its campaign to have New Zealand's border control and biosecurity policies reviewed so that a better balance between the identifiable risks, and the Government's response to those risks, was achieved. He welcomed the Prime Minister's acknowledgement that New Zealand needs an overall national biosecurity strategy.

"Varroa demonstrates that New Zealand is far too wide open to new pests and plants. One of the first steps that the Government could do immediately is implement an instant fine system for travellors bringing in prohibited materials that can harbor pests or species."

"Another issue that the federation wants to see the Government move rapidly on is its response to new incursions when they do occur. At the moment, rapid action against new pests is hampered by arguing over who is going to pay between the Government and industry."

"The Government should make it very clear that it will fund eradication and control programmes for new incursions, because otherwise combating the pest becomes to difficult."

ENDS

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