Beekeepers have until March 22 to make a submission on a proposal to replace the American Foulbrood Apiary and Beekeeper Levy with a Hive and Beekeeper Levy.
The Management Agency National American Foulbrood (AFB) Pest Management Plan, which is responsible for carrying out compliance and enforcement activities to eradicate the disease, is encouraging beekeepers to make their views known on a revised proposal to increase the current levy as well as altering the way it is charged and how costs are recovered.
National compliance manager Clifton King said the current version addressed beekeepers' concerns following an earlier consultation on the AFB levy proposal in July and August last year.
King said the increased levy would provide the agency with additional resources to further reduce the number of hives that had AFB.
''We received 908 submissions from beekeepers, which raised a number of concerns with the [earlier] proposal,'' he said.
That included replacing the existing Apiary and Beekeeper levy with a Hive and Beekeeper levy, (charging for the number of hives, not number of apiaries).
That will be set at $40 per beekeeper, as well as a hive levy of $1.35 increasing to $2.55 per hive over a five-year period.
This will raise an additional $0.6 million to $1.6 million per year.
Beekeepers were responsible for eliminating AFB from their hives, not the agency.
However, the agency monitored compliance and was responsible for enforcement.
King said submitters had been concerned that compliant beekeepers would be required to pay the costs incurred by the actions of non-compliant apiarists.
As a result, the agency altered the proposal to ensure it would be able to recover any resulting costs from non-compliant beekeepers.
Once the submissions were received, an independent consultant would review them and the results would be announced in June.
Submissions can be made on afb.org.nz.
• American Foulbrood (AFB) is the most serious disease affecting honey bees in New Zealand.
• It costs beekeepers about 6 per cent of gross returns and poses a serious risk to New Zealand's honey exports, valued at $329 million in 2017.
• The changes would save 41,000 beehives and associated products estimated at
$50 million from destruction over 10 years.