25 Jun 2015

Bee industry abuzz on proposed body

8:02 am on 25 June 2015

Bee industry representatives are hoping for confirmation later today that they have the support needed to carry on with their plans to form a single new body to unite the sector.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

An independent working group has spent the past 10 months looking at a new organisation which would combine the two beekeeper bodies and other interests such as honey packers, exporters and hobbyists.

Yesterday, delegates to this year's apiculture conference considered the recommendation to set up an interim industry governance board as the next step to unification.

Federated Farmers bee group chair John Hartnell said the response to that indicated the industry remained strongly committed to the idea.

"The attendees of the conference were asked whether they endorsed the work that the working group has done and the work it has put into preparing the proposal and I would say we would describe it as a resounding yes by a very, very large majority," Mr Hartnell said.

"And that, basically, will give us the confidence to move into our AGMs and look to try and finalise the nuts and bolts on how we can actually take the proposal that's there and start to add some flesh to the bones if you like."

Mr Hartnell said honey packers and exporters had already endorsed their support and the National Beekeepers' Association and Bee Industry Group would vote on the unification plan at their annual meetings today.

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