“We want to hear from you”.
That’s the call to beekeepers from the Management Agency American Foulbrood (AFB) Pest Management Plan (PMP) ahead of consultation on the plan for how AFB will be managed in New Zealand for the next 10 years.
The Biosecurity Order which sets in law the PMP expires on April 1 2023 and the Agency are required to provide the Minister, through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), with a proposal that reflects beekeepers’ feedback.
Beekeepers will have until 5pm on Sunday July 11 to provide feedback for the first round of consultation in a year-long process that will set the AFB PMP for the ten year period following 2023.
The PMP sets out the legal obligations to which beekeepers must adhere when it comes to managing hives.
National manager of the AFB PMP Clifton King says he is ready for what beekeepers throw at the Agency and his key message to beekeepers is clear.
“Irrespective of their views we want to hear from beekeepers. It is important they have their say,” King says.
“If beekeepers believe the PMP should be unchanged for the next 10 years, we want to hear from them. If they believe it requires minor changes before being extended, we want to hear from them. If they believe it requires major changes to some or all parts of it, we want to hear from them. And if they believe it should be revoked, we want to hear from them.”
The initial round of consultation gives beekeepers the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey, accessed through the AFB PMP website or links emailed directly to registered beekeepers. It provides beekeepers a mix of tick boxes and areas to type more detailed recommendations.
That feedback will form any proposed major, big picture changes which the Agency hopes to be able to announce in September or October of this year. At that time, they will call for more feedback. From there, that second round of beekeeper feedback will be used to form more detailed changes which will be announced next winter. There a third and final round of consultation will be undertaken, before presenting a proposal to MPI.
The whole processes has been budgeted to cost $170,000, which is funded through beekeepers’ AFB levies.
“One of the reasons it cost quite a bit is it takes time and effort to undertake three rounds of consultation, but we want to make changes that are consistent with the future the beekeeping industry wants,” King says.
Beekeepers can access the online consultation survey via www.afb.org.nz