4 September 2002
Govt Admit Varroa Failure, Must Learn Lessons
Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said he was disturbed that the Government appears to be doing
nothing to stop the varroa bee mite spreading to the South Island.
In response to an oral question from Mr Ewen-Street in parliament this afternoon Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton today
said he expected the varroa mite to reach the South Island and he outlined no Government strategy or action to prevent
this from happening.
"I am really disappointed in the Minister's attitude," said Mr Ewen-Street.
"The Government's response to the initial discovery of varroa was slow and indecisive and now Government appear to be
resigned to it spreading across the entire country.
"The South Island is one of a very few areas in the world that is free of varroa and this status is a huge economic
opportunity. Bee farmers in the South Island will be very disappointed that Government is not even prepared to try and
keep varroa out," he said.
"I do hope that Government learn lessons from the handling of the varroa incursion. If strong, decisive leadership had
been taken from day one and a comprehensive eradication effort launched the whole of New Zealand could still be varroa
free," said Mr Ewen-Street.
"Instead Government dithered for more than three months before deciding not to even attempt eradication. We will now
never know how things could have been if this had been handled differently."