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Honey Traps Need Rigorous Surveillance

Damien

O’Connor

Spokesperson for Primary Industries

17 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Honey Traps Need Rigorous Surveillance

Despite assurances from the Government that biosecurity border control is hitting its targets the New Zealand bee industry remains rightly concerned about the threat from honey brought in to this country from Australia, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“Up to 1300 kilograms of honey is seized at the border in any one year and those figures have remained high in spite of attempts to inform travellers from Australia of the risk,” said Damien O’Connor.

“The direct exit strategy - where travellers arriving from Australia are not checked at all - further adds to concerns, as does the Government’s proposals to open the door to importing honey from Australia.

“Beekeepers say that, or just one biosecurity breach, could cripple their industry, which in the last 10 years has had to deal with the fallout of three of the world’s most serious bee diseases.

“It has been found that Australian honey is often mixed with honey from other countries, meaning European foulbrood and other diseases could arrive in New Zealand via Australian honey if careful checks are not in place.

“Exports of honey alone are valued at around $101 million, while around a third of everything we eat is pollinated by bees. Our horticultural industry depends on them.

“The industry claims our bees are just a honeypot away from disaster and that each kilogram of honey seized at the border is a potential bio-bomb.

“That shouldn’t just give pause for thought. It should also serve as a warning to the Government that it can’t afford to be complacent about the risks the sector is exposed to,” said Damien O’Connor.

labour.org.nz

ENDS

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