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Frederick

Commodity Levy / Fight for the Industrys future?

RISK OF CLOSURE

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1 hour ago, Ali said:

@Bushy it will be a shame to have you missing from this thread. I feel your views have been astute and valuable.

 

Thanks @Ali. I didn't say I would stop reading the posts.  If I see misleading BS or correct argument being dumped on, it will be impossible for me to stand by and do nothing, I promise.

But I have voted and have some other jobs to do.

Stick to your guns as 98.5% of your concerns and arguments are spot on.

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@Frederick   You have asked for the SNI Beekeeping Inc thoughts on the levy.

So here they are.

Note: This is not an individual's thoughts but the combined thoughts of the Group.

 

Both groups SNI and NZ Beekeepers are not against a levy for "research" only.  There are Commodity Levies in place that do just this without supporting the administration of one body against another.

The levy must be fair and equitable to all industry sectors, and all sectors must be involved in paying part of the levy.

When ApiNZ was proposed, it was going to take $1.5M to $3.5M to run the association model.  (refer to the parliamentary report "Industry unification project final report" Parliament NZ).

The report stresses there must be unification.  From the outset, the ApiNZ Board has not tried to communicate with the other beekeeping groups and seems to prefer that they will outlast the other groups and become the lead industry body.

Unfortunately most commercial beekeepers feel the board have a marketing focus rather than a beekeeping focus.  Great when nobody fronted for the beekeeping position on the boards so they appointed a marketing person to represent us.  Lack of wide consultation has added extra work to the beekeeping industry.

Some of the things that they have approved with MPI like the GREX go against the principal of good beekeeping practice. ie having large colonies. Restricting the brood to a single box is good for some areas that have a slow build-up and a late flow but doesn't work for those that have an early honey crop who must winter hives two high.  Strong colonies produce more are healthier and survive the winter better. Some naturally have two queens, mother and daughter in the same hive laying eggs. You don't see this in a single brood nest hive.

Yes in some years a single brood nest hive will produce equally as much honey but when there is a dribble of a flow, the bees won't push it up through the queen excluder; unhappily, this is what happened to a lot this season.

Single brood nest hives fed sugar syrup is one method of beekeeping which has largely been adopted by some big commercial outfits to take advantage of every drop of honey produced.

It also goes against the principal that the bees move honey up, so naturally if fed sugar and stored, the bees will move it up and store it above the brood nest so the beekeeper removing all, will do this also at the risk of producing honey that doesn't meet the Codex.   Bees are being treated as a commodity instead of an animal by some who are just in it for the money see a short term gain rather that a prosperous industry all sectors have a part in and can enjoy beekeeping.

Then branding of boxes to discourage theft and to make sure the honey processor can identify the boxes the beekeeper brought in for extraction.  What has that done for the industry but cause an extra lot of work.  Beekeepers stealing hives immediately destroy the boxes to prevent trace-back, and they were doing this before branding was necessary.

MPI seem to treat a hive like a cow, but unfortunately with bees and hives, we divide, exchange parts and put them back together again, so the hive at the beginning of the year is still a hive ( if its still alive) but is not recognisable inside.

Research can be a gravy train for institutions.  We have to be very selective and it must have an outcome that could assist us as a whole. We need very good skilled people to vet proposals

What we require is:

Has the proposed research been done elsewhere in the world, if so does it fit NZ conditions, if not, do the research but before that the persons, groups must submit their proposal, research protocols on how they intend to conduct the research and their budget and the time frame.

The research findings must be available for use of the whole industry. Beekeepers don't need research that is only useful to one particular company and that company doesn't share the results until a few years after.

We are just a tiny country with a handful of good researchers who over the years have produced some marvelous results. We also have to promote young people, the brightest into research and have a career for them.

ApiNZ do some very good things with their focus groups, but their administration costs are high.

They have dressed up the levy to look good in all sector to give beekeepers the feel good factor but when it came to the voting paper things indicated in all the publicity are not there.

They are responsible for the AFB side of beekeeping but have not administered this at all, leaving everything to the PMP Board. The AFB PMP play with statistics, saying 100% of an apiary was infected but do not indicate that there was just one hive on that apiary.  They have played with statistics saying we are still at 0.3% when actual hive numbers have tripled.   If AFB was under control, the level would have gone down to 0.1%.  There is massive under reporting so their statistics are meaningless.

The same goes for the colony loss survey.  Real good results from the small sector beekeepers but little from beekeepers whose loose a lot of hives. This has led some beekeepers into a false sense of security.

So, in a body administering beekeepers; we want honesty, openness, a means of influencing the direction of the industry, an advocate for all beekeepers which could be against government policies.

This hasn't happened under the present structure of ApiNZ.

 There are three levies in the picture.

The Commodity Levy which in the past has been totally used for fund the peak bodies activities. Research and marketing were dropped for administration.

Doubling of the AFB levy which today as a group has failed, taking the MPI compliance approach rather that dealing with AFB. They have lost the confidence of the beekeepers who used to do a lot of the work for nothing and were their eyes and ears to finding the sources of infections.

A GIA levy for Biosecurity which could be a very good thing, but will need some skilled negotiating. Honey bees are behind most of our exports in some way, yet we are not recognised as important by the government as there is no direct support in the field. Unfortunately surveillance has never in the world stopped the spread of a bee disease or pathogen. Great for fruit fly or anything that doesn't get moved at 100km per hour on a truck or can fly 10km on their own.

APiNZ has been around for three years. Yes it takes time to settle in but commercial beekeepers haven't liked the direction they have taken and they haven't tried to foster unity.

The only way to change things is to vote with your feet if you are not happy.  This is what is behind the no vote.

With a no vote ApiNZ loses their sole mandate to control the industry. They will have to then come to the party and jointly we go forward ignoring personalities.

This will only delay a research levy one year.

One year will make a difference to struggling beekeepers who are not able to sell their honey or who have no honey and are hurting financially but won't really effect our research goals.



Now is the time to Vote.  Vote No.
 

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Good stuff @Trevor Gillbanks! While I am not presently part of SNI I certainly share some of your viewpoint.

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I apologise if I relied on information that was in fact not correct.

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12 minutes ago, Ted said:

It’s interesting that a completely false bit of information has drawn such a savage comment from @CraBee.  I wonder how many of the other stories floating around about ApiNZ which a number of forum members are so fired up about are also false??  Just wondering.

 I agree.

The guy their talking about is a top bloke, very approachable and cooperative the best on the ApiNZ team in my oppinion.

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37 minutes ago, CraBee said:

I apologise if I relied on information that was in fact not correct.

Not having a go at you @CraBee.  Just pointing out how easily facts so easily get twisted and distorted or in this case are just plain #######s but people take it on board as gospel.

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 There have been some excellent reasons put forward both for and against the levy. Part of me would quite like to see a yes vote  and undoubtedly part of me would like to see it fail.

All of me is quite sure I don't want to be  involved in the politics of the whole thing.

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9 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

He does not work for Comvita, he is self employed vet/farm consultant up north and involved in the far north hobby group. please get your facts right.

Thank you, I withdraw the comment - I was following on from another post.

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@Trevor Gillbanks "The report stresses there must be unification.  From the outset, the ApiNZ Board has not tried to communicate with the other beekeeping groups and seems to prefer that they will outlast the other groups and become the lead industry body."

 

This is patently untrue.  ApiNZ's Board worked hard t communicate across all groups and across all beekeepers.  We have numerous letters and e-mails to other groups.  At the end of the day all beekeepers could read the journal, our extensive material, our dedicated website, attend a consultation meeting or read this forum.  

 

We appreciate that people have different views on the levy itself.  But spreading untruth's does not enhance the debate

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@Bushy "Newly elected board members under a new levy voter system will only become official after the 2020 AGM, which incidentally is about an hour after ApiNZ can officially take their first vote on increasing the levy from 10to 15 cents"

 

This is flat out wrong.  The levy can only be increased to 15c on the event that more than 50% of levy payers vote for an increase.  The view that ApiNZ's Board can somehow do this without asking levy payers is simply not true.  I encourage you to read our website www.apinz.org.nz/levy for further information

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2 hours ago, ApiNZ Levy Proposal said:

@Bushy "Newly elected board members under a new levy voter system will only become official after the 2020 AGM, which incidentally is about an hour after ApiNZ can officially take their first vote on increasing the levy from 10to 15 cents"

 

This is flat out wrong.  The levy can only be increased to 15c on the event that more than 50% of levy payers vote for an increase.  The view that ApiNZ's Board can somehow do this without asking levy payers is simply not true.  I encourage you to read our website www.apinz.org.nz/levy for further information

 

With all due respect you had better go and read your own rules. I did not say the board could increase the levy, I said a majority vote at the AGM is required. Your rules clearly state AGM and not postal vote or any other means, just vote at AGM.

 

As has been stated by ApiNZ and from your rules, the first opportunity to have this vote will be the 2020 AGM.

 

You can apologise any time you like

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@Bushy to me "newly elected board members" implies just that.  My words, not yours.

 

I am well aware of ApiNZ's AGM rules.  I am also well aware of Commodity Act requirements that state that ONLY by MAJORITY vote of LEVY payers can the levy be raised.

 

To say that the ApiNZ Board will attempt to raise the levy at the 2020 AGM (with it just having come in) is plain wrong.

 

I do encourage you to read the consultation material.  There is also a lot about the Commodity Levies Act on line if you are interested 

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3 hours ago, ApiNZ Levy Proposal said:

@Trevor Gillbanks "The report stresses there must be unification.  From the outset, the ApiNZ Board has not tried to communicate with the other beekeeping groups and seems to prefer that they will outlast the other groups and become the lead industry body."

 

This is patently untrue.  ApiNZ's Board worked hard t communicate across all groups and across all beekeepers.  We have numerous letters and e-mails to other groups.  At the end of the day all beekeepers could read the journal, our extensive material, our dedicated website, attend a consultation meeting or read this forum.  

 

We appreciate that people have different views on the levy itself.  But spreading untruth's does not enhance the debate

Is it really untrue??.

Before the forming of ApiNZ at the Wanganui Conference, there were two bee groups NBA and FF Big.

 

Since the forming of ApiNZ we now have a least 3 independent groups.  ApiNZ, NZ Beekeeping Inc, and SNI Beekeeping Inc.  

I am not sure about the Christchurch group, @Margaret Anne would you please clarify the Christchurch group position/ alliance.

 

So, @ApiNZ Levy Proposal any way you look at it, we are more fractured than we have been for a very long time.

 

The SNI group was formed from the old NBA regional group that could not reach a resolution with ApiNZ.

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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@Trevor Gillbanks Yes it is untrue.  ApiNZ stands by its consultation on this levy.  The fact that so many individuals have tried to form their own groups does not distract from the extensive consultation that ApiNZ has undertaken.  One of the key benefits of the levy is to bring this industry together.  It is true to say that in the absence of a levy industry will certainly remain fractured. 

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5 minutes ago, ApiNZ Levy Proposal said:

@Bushy to me "newly elected board members" implies just that.  My words, not yours.

 

I am well aware of ApiNZ's AGM rules.  I am also well aware of Commodity Act requirements that state that ONLY by MAJORITY vote of LEVY payers can the levy be raised.

 

To say that the ApiNZ Board will attempt to raise the levy at the 2020 AGM (with it just having come in) is plain wrong.

 

I do encourage you to read the consultation material.  There is also a lot about the Commodity Levies Act on line if you are interested 

 

Unless constitutional law has suddenly changed, "newly elected board members" only become official seat holders at the end of an AGM, so any vote held at the AGM will be carried out under the watch of incumbent board members.

Unless there is something I am really missing, it will be impossible for new captured levy payers to vote for 2019 board members, as they are not members until levy money is paid.

 

Apinz rules state, levy increase can only happen at AGM by majority vote. If you are now stating today, Apinz have changed your written rule to now include a weighted proxy vote for that AGM, then great, but dont pretend it has existed prior to now. Hey I don't write your rules, I just read whats in front of us to try and make intelligent voting decisions.

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@Bushy I'm afraid you are very confused.  There are strong rules around the voting for the use of commodity levy funds, these are outlined in law.

 

Your earlier point about the Board being able to raise the Commodity Levy as soon as it wants remains quite wrong

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1 hour ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Is it really untrue??.

Before the forming of ApiNZ at the Wanganui Conference, there were two bee groups NBA and FF Big.

 

Since the forming of ApiNZ we now have a least 3 independent groups.  ApiNZ, NZ Beekeeping Inc, and SNI Beekeeping Inc.  

I am not sure about the Christchurch group, @Margaret Anne would you please clarify the Christchurch group position/ alliance.

 

So, @ApiNZ Levy Proposal any way you look at it, we are more fractured than we have been for a very long time.

 

The SNI group was formed from the old NBA regional group that could not reach a resolution with ApiNZ.

I think he is more referring to Your comment that the ApiNZ board has not tried to communicate with any other beekeeping organisations.  I think it has been clearly established that ApiNZ has repeatedly tried to engage with other beekeeping organisations only to be rejected.

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1 hour ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Is it really untrue??.

Before the forming of ApiNZ at the Wanganui Conference, there were two bee groups NBA and FF Big.

 

Since the forming of ApiNZ we now have a least 3 independent groups.  ApiNZ, NZ Beekeeping Inc, and SNI Beekeeping Inc.  

I am not sure about the Christchurch group, @Margaret Anne would you please clarify the Christchurch group position/ alliance.

 

So, @ApiNZ Levy Proposal any way you look at it, we are more fractured than we have been for a very long time.

 

The SNI group was formed from the old NBA regional group that could not reach a resolution with ApiNZ.

We are not a Christchurch group, and I never said we were a Christchurch group.  We are the Canterbury Hub of ApiNZ and we extend from Southern Marlborough to Northern Otago, Canterbury, Westland and Chatham Island. 

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12 minutes ago, Margaret Anne said:

We are not a Christchurch group, and I never said we were a Christchurch group.  We are the Canterbury Hub of ApiNZ and we extend from Southern Marlborough to Northern Otago, Canterbury, Westland and Chatham Island. 

Thanks. I got my geography wrong. 

Thanks for the clarification.

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2 hours ago, ApiNZ Levy Proposal said:

I am well aware of ApiNZ's AGM rules.  I am also well aware of Commodity Act requirements that state that ONLY by MAJORITY vote of LEVY payers can the levy be raised.

@ApiNZ Levy Proposal, it would appear APINZ's overall stance is that of hive numbers in the bag by way of those operators with large holdings of hives and the employment of weighted voting to skew the result. 

A majority vote of levy payers would mean the majority of the payers without any weighting would it not? Which is on offer please? Weighted voting or unweighted voting on any levy increase?

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2 hours ago, Bushy said:

Unless there is something I am really missing, it will be impossible for new captured levy payers to vote for 2019 board members, as they are not members until levy money is paid.

@ApiNZ Levy Proposal can you please state for the record is the quoted post attached correct or not?

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@Ali Once again you appear very confused.  I do recommend that you take the time to read the levy material.  It is clear that you are putting a lot of time into thinking about your vote!  Did you attend a consultation meeting?  This was explained at each of those.

 

Under the Commodity Levies Act the vote must pass two hurdles. First, more than 50% of those that vote must vote yes.  Second, those 'yes' votes must represent more than 50% of all the hives declared by those who voted.   Once again I repeat, this is a requirement of the Act. ALL Commodity Levy votes are run like this, all 33 of them.

 

Let me explain further.  If say 1000 beekeepers vote and between them they have 50,000 hives, then more than 500 have to vote yes.  IF that hurdle is passed, THEN they also have to own AT LEAST 25,000 hives.

 

Once again, this is all clearly outlined in the material on our website: www.apinz.org.nz/levy

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3 hours ago, Bushy said:

Your rules clearly state AGM and not postal vote or any other means, just vote at AGM.

@ApiNZ Levy Proposal, I read the same rule statement. Please confirm that this is in fact what APINZ's rules say or explain?

Edited by Ali

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@Ali Yes that is an AGM rule.  THAT IS NOT A COMMODITY LEVY RULE.  In the event that the levy is in place, ALL levy payers will have the opportunity to vote, whether at the AGM or not.  As has been pointed out by numerous commentators, ApiNZ will change considerably in the event that the levy is passed.  The investment of and accounting for levy funds is outlined in legislation.  Again this was made clear at consultation meetings.

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4 minutes ago, ApiNZ Levy Proposal said:

Let me explain further.  If say 1000 beekeepers vote and between them they have 50,000 hives, then more than 500 have to vote yes.  IF that hurdle is passed, THEN they also have to own AT LEAST 25,000 hives.

@ApiNZ Levy Proposal this explanation is more honest I think. When someone says a 'majority vote of levy payers' most expect it is a majority of registered beekeepers who qualify for the levy payment.

This is patently not the case as you have explained. 

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