Beekeepers consider Govt joint working offer

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Bay of Plenty beekeeper, Garth Taylor, pours smoke into a hive on a kiwifruit orchard near Te Puke. Photo / Alan Gibson
Bay of Plenty beekeeper, Garth Taylor, pours smoke into a hive on a kiwifruit orchard near Te Puke. Photo / Alan Gibson

Beekeepers are weighing up an offer which could give them greater say in how the Government manages biosecurity risks that threaten their industry.

The National Beekeepers' Association (NBA) said today it had agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry for Primary Industries while it explored the possible value offered by the Government Industry Agreement (GIA).

Primary industry groups were being invited to sign up to the GIA to help identify the biosecurity risks of greatest concern to them, and manage those risks through joint investment with the Government.

The GIA was a significant change to New Zealand's biosecurity system, said NBA President Barry Foster.

"The NBA needs to find out exactly what benefits there are for us as beekeepers and we need to identify the possible downsides.

"Once that is done and the pros and cons weighed up then our members can make an informed decision as to whether or not to sign up formally to the GIA Deed."

A small working group of beekeepers would now go through the proposition "very carefully".

The group would then report back to NBA on whether it was worth signing up to the formal GIA Deed or not.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the GIA, planned to start formally on July 1, 2013, would give primary industries a better say in biosecurity preparedness and response activities.

The biggest threat to the beekeeping industry was from the Varroa mite.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has estimated the Varroa mite would cost the New Zealand economy between $400 and $900 million over 35 years.

The varroa mite first entered New Zealand in April 2000 and was the most damaging honey bee pest worldwide.

The NBA wesbite stated that there were 3,251 registered beekeepers, 23,395 apiaries and 388,369 beehives in New Zealand.

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