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Alex the kid

Why i am voting NO for the commodity levy

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This is an opinion piece, but I will disclose that I am a paid member of NZ Beekeeping Incorporated.

 

I will try to be brief, hopefully this does not mean that I omit too much of my reasoning behind my opinions.

 

- A commodity levy will give ApiNZ an automatic mandate to speak for the industry, and government a yes man to push through policy and regulations that often lack common sense, and input from real beekeepers.

 

- This will mean that small to medium beekeeping enterprises will not get consulted, nor have their views acknowledged, when it comes to industry issues such as regulatory change.

 

- It is clear to me that there is a massive divide between the corporate (often multinational) side of the apiculture industry, and SME's. 

 

- I firmly believe that beekeepers need their own independent organisation to represent them to government, separate from packers & marketers (P&M), as we are running unique businesses very different from those packing and exporting bee products. Furthermore I see P&M's influence in decision making affecting SME's they buy products from, as a conflict of interest. 

 

- The big P&M's are represented by corporate business people, not commercial beekeepers.

 

- If this commodity levy passes, we will find that beekeeping SME's voices will be stifled to almost nothing. As it is, we are able to make ourselves heard, albeit at a push, and with persistence, through organisations such as NZ Beekeeping Inc.

 

I could go on for days, but to keep your interest I will just list a couple of the achievements of NZ Beekeeping Incorporated:

 

- Having MPI's amended  multifloral Manuka definition reverted, bringing a lot of false-non multi Manuka back into the definition. MPI conceded the day before the court date. (ApiNZ did nothing)

- Substantial and Informative Submissions, and pressure on MPI, over the GREX Consultation, resulting in many nonsensical and costly regulations being removed from the GREX. (ApiNZ was happy with the original draft document!)

 

I would also like to point out that there is a group of scientists working to have the LEGAL monofloral Manuka definition changed to the SCIENTIFIC definition. In an effort to bring Manuka FALSELY testing as Non Manuka, back into the definition. By MPI's own figures, 19% Manuka is testing as false non-manuka. They have provided robust scientific evidence, but have had their argument repeatedly dismissed by the Minister Damien O'Connor. ApiNZ is not supportive of these scientists.

 

ApiNZ is not operating in the interest of small and medium beekeeping enterprises.  

 

Please vote no, so we can find a suitable and considered alternative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I read with interest and dismay. 

 

You see this as an achievement:

'Having MPI's amended  multifloral Manuka definition reverted, bringing a lot of false-non multi Manuka back into the definition. MPI conceded the day before the court date. (ApiNZ did nothing)'

I see this as a disgrace. Counter productive and dangerous. There are major questions over the international legality of the Multifloral standard and the reversion made the standard weaker. 

How can there be a standard allowing the use of the word Manuka when Manuka may not be the major ingredient. 

A more truthful description would be 'Multi-floral honey containing Manuka'. In many countries the food Name on the label has to represent the major ingredient. 

 

 

 

This is not a positive: 

 

'I would also like to point out that there is a group of scientists working to have the LEGAL monofloral Manuka definition changed to the SCIENTIFIC definition. In an effort to bring Manuka FALSELY testing as Non Manuka, back into the definition. By MPI's own figures, 19% Manuka is testing as false non-manuka. They have provided robust scientific evidence, but have had their argument repeatedly dismissed by the Minister Damien O'Connor. ApiNZ is not supportive of these scientists.'

 

You need to understand the situation. Look at the industry as a whole. Challenging the definition is dangerous and it is predictable that the Minister is not supportive. There is a much bigger battle for the Manuka Trademark taking place. The MPI definition is a cornerstone to to the NZ argument. Change cannot happen until the trademark battle is won. It is a simple case of priorities. 

 

 

 

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You don't understand @Adam Boot, from the beekeepers point of view, all honey which is proven to be substantially manuka must be able to be marketed as such, with no quick fixes to satisfy those making a living off the sweat of the beekeepers. It must be properly sorted.

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4 hours ago, Alex the kid said:

I would also like to point out that there is a group of scientists working to have the LEGAL monofloral Manuka definition changed to the SCIENTIFIC definition. In an effort to bring Manuka FALSELY testing as Non Manuka, back into the definition. By MPI's own figures, 19% Manuka is testing as false non-manuka. They have provided robust scientific evidence, but have had their argument repeatedly dismissed by the Minister Damien O'Connor. ApiNZ is not supportive of these scientists.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Margaret Anne said:

 

Hello Alex - I along with others, are incredibly interested in the findings of the scientific community.  What are the individual names & the group of scientists that you refer to?  Why is Damien O'Connor or ApiNZ not supportive of them?  I am really interested to scientific findings, cos if they are reputable I am interested in talking with them, with a potential meeting .  Please supply the names of publications.  Look forward to your reply.

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What was the multi floral standard going to be before it was changed at the last minute does anyone know ?

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I've just had a batch of honey classified as non-manuka when it looks, feels and taste like manuka. Has a UMF of 7.5 with a potential of 10+ and passes DNA test . It's disturbing that if I mixed it with enough clover it would be reclassified as multi floral manuka. I am starting to believe those that say there is a strong effort from some of the big boys to keep the current standard so that they can buy up this kind of honey really cheap, blend and make a killing. I saw honey last year past the test with flying colours that was in no way anything like pure and nowhere near as good as this last lot of honey which has failed. I agree it's not pure manuka but I suspect it's around 70% . I've been in this game for a long time and I know what manuka is.This honey would have easily passed the pure manuka test before the last minute changes.

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15 hours ago, john berry said:

I've just had a batch of honey classified as non-manuka when it looks, feels and taste like manuka. Has a UMF of 7.5 with a potential of 10+ and passes DNA test . It's disturbing that if I mixed it with enough clover it would be reclassified as multi floral manuka. I am starting to believe those that say there is a strong effort from some of the big boys to keep the current standard so that they can buy up this kind of honey really cheap, blend and make a killing. I saw honey last year past the test with flying colours that was in no way anything like pure and nowhere near as good as this last lot of honey which has failed. I agree it's not pure manuka but I suspect it's around 70% . I've been in this game for a long time and I know what manuka is.This honey would have easily passed the pure manuka test before the last minute changes.

The last minute changes were to reduce the pass mark for Multi Floral. Nothing changed with Mono. If your Honey has failed the Mono test why are you saying it has failed the Multi as well. 

There are 5 parts to the MPI test and you only mention DNA. What were the results on the four chemical markers? What part of clover is going to change your honey to Multi? 

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18 hours ago, Sailabee said:

You don't understand @Adam Boot, from the beekeepers point of view, all honey which is proven to be substantially manuka must be able to be marketed as such, with no quick fixes to satisfy those making a living off the sweat of the beekeepers. It must be properly sorted.

Yes you are correct. I do not. What is substantial? 50%, 60% or 70% or more than any other honey variant in the same batch? You know as well as I do that prior to the MPI definition there was Manuka honey on the market containing less than 10% Manuka. Simply because the MGO/UMF content was above 5+/83MGO. 

We all accept that 100% pure is not possible with Honey but I would suggest that the % should be pretty high to satisfy the consumer and international import border controls. What you are missing is that international boarders would have closed to Manuka if the PMI definition did not come into play. The definition is now a cornerstone to the legal case for NZ to win the Trade mark ruling to own 'Manuka'. If you and others challenge the MPI you are just weakening the tide mark argument. Lose that argument and you have destroyed a high value industry and you honey will be worth even less. 

You are building an argument to destroy your own business - Well done. No one is living of beekeepers sweat any more than the beekeeper lives of the sweat of the people marketing and selling brands of honey. Do you actually think that on the global stage with a million on one consumer choices that your honey just gets up and sells itself? 

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16 minutes ago, Adam Boot said:

Yes you are correct. I do not. What is substantial? 50%, 60% or 70% or more than any other honey variant in the same batch? You know as well as I do that prior to the MPI definition there was Manuka honey on the market containing less than 10% Manuka. Simply because the MGO/UMF content was above 5+/83MGO. 

We all accept that 100% pure is not possible with Honey but I would suggest that the % should be pretty high to satisfy the consumer and international import border controls. What you are missing is that international boarders would have closed to Manuka if the PMI definition did not come into play. The definition is now a cornerstone to the legal case for NZ to win the Trade mark ruling to own 'Manuka'. If you and others challenge the MPI you are just weakening the tide mark argument. Lose that argument and you have destroyed a high value industry and you honey will be worth even less. 

You are building an argument to destroy your own business - Well done. No one is living of beekeepers sweat any more than the beekeeper lives of the sweat of the people marketing and selling brands of honey. Do you actually think that on the global stage with a million on one consumer choices that your honey just gets up and sells itself? 

Some really good and informative content here as usual Adam 
However can I point out that this post is the second one of yours that tells the peasants that there is no way to sales heaven but by you, or some other marketer.

As things get tight a peasant might just rise up and tip you off your perch

 

Edited by Philbee
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4 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Some really good and informative content here as usual Adam 
However can I point out that this post is the second one of yours that tells the peasants that there is no way to sales heaven but by you, or some other marketer.

As things get tight a peasant might just rise up and tip you off your perch

 

Philbee. I have never said that. And believe me things are tight and hard work for every one. The point I am making is that products, honey or any other do not sell them selves. Show me a good plan and I will endorse it wholeheartedly. All I keep hearing is them and us rater than we. I keep hearing cut out middlemen and DIY. There are no middle men clipping tickets. There are people throughout the industry making huge investments and working (sweating) really hard. 

Quite frankly even if you were correct and it was ten posts saying the same thing it would not make it incorrect. Producing honey, packing honey and selling honey are different things. Just because you put it in a jar and put a label on it does not mean it will sell. 

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12 minutes ago, Adam Boot said:

Philbee. I have never said that. And believe me things are tight and hard work for every one. The point I am making is that products, honey or any other do not sell them selves. Show me a good plan and I will endorse it wholeheartedly. All I keep hearing is them and us rater than we. I keep hearing cut out middlemen and DIY. There are no middle men clipping tickets. There are people throughout the industry making huge investments and working (sweating) really hard. 

Quite frankly even if you were correct and it was ten posts saying the same thing it would not make it incorrect. Producing honey, packing honey and selling honey are different things. Just because you put it in a jar and put a label on it does not mean it will 

Lol at the movement honey on selling in the drum so leaving us no choice

Edited by Beeman1

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3 minutes ago, Beeman1 said:

Lol at the movement honey on selling in the drum so leaving us no choice

So if you say that your honey is not selling in the drum? What makes the situation change when you put it in a jar?

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42 minutes ago, Philbee said:

As things get tight a peasant might just rise up and tip you off your perch

At least one "peasant" on here has pointed out how busy it is growing things but nevertheless,  obviously thinking that "marketing " is a doddle and won't take any time at all, the middleman is going to get cut out of it's honey marketing. Next year there'll be complaints of how it takes 90 hours to make a living.

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18 minutes ago, Adam Boot said:

So if you say that your honey is not selling in the drum? What makes the situation change when you put it in a jar?

We are selling honey in the jar and exporting in the jar as due to hard work 

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1 hour ago, Adam Boot said:

No one is living of beekeepers sweat any more than the beekeeper lives of the sweat of the people marketing and selling brands of honey. Do you actually think that on the global stage with a million on one consumer choices that your honey just gets up and sells itself? 

There is no doubt that Honey does not sell itself

However your post is the second that Ive read from you where my immediate thought has been that the message to the average Beekeeper is that the cost of marketing Honey is fixed and you shall receive the balance if there is any.
If there was ever a demoralizing senerio that would be it.
My concern is that there are likely Beekeepers out there who  have the same interpretation of your post as myself and feel very afraid.
 

Given the opportunity, everyone in a supply line will protect their margins to the end

The end in this case is the Primary producer.

When times are good this goes unnoticed but as the tide turns the Primary producer must put his thinking cap on.
 

 

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25 minutes ago, Philbee said:

 

There is no doubt that Honey does not sell itself

However your post is the second that Ive read from you where my immediate thought has been that the message to the average Beekeeper is that the cost of marketing Honey is fixed and you shall receive the balance if there is any.
If there was ever a demoralizing senerio that would be it.
My concern is that there are likely Beekeepers out there who  have the same interpretation of your post as myself and feel very afraid.
 

Given the opportunity, everyone in a supply line will protect their margins to the end

The end in this case is the Primary producer.

When times are good this goes unnoticed but as the tide turns the Primary producer must put his thinking cap on.
 

 

I do wish people would stop putting words in my mouth. The Marketing cost is not fixed. I have never used the word fixed or implied it. The cost, a cost does exist though. Depending on your margin aspirations. longterm goals, the sales channels you target, the distribution channels you choose the global regions you target and the position you place your brand, the costs will very. 

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2 hours ago, Adam Boot said:

So if you say that your honey is not selling in the drum? What makes the situation change when you put it in a jar?

Because one then has the opportunity to become a price setter rather then taker. It may not sell at the price you want, but at least you feel like you've gained a bit of control over your destiny !

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6 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Because one then has the opportunity to become a price setter rather then taker. It may not sell at the price you want, but at least you feel like you've gained a bit of control over your destiny !

Ok. Possibly a good call. Go for it. 

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Here you go Adam. DNA 30.2   4 HPLA2.6    2MBA 12   2MAP1.4   3PLA 590  DHA 1050 MG 165  NPA 7.5  HMF 6  . Grade is non-manuka

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Last few days to vote, weather it’s a yes or no. Today or tomorrow is the last day before you can send it in and make sure it gets there on time to be counted. Happy voting. 

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2 hours ago, Jose Thayil said:

Last few days to vote, weather it’s a yes or no. Today or tomorrow is the last day before you can send it in and make sure it gets there on time to be counted. Happy voting. 

Hi all

Just a reminder that voting for the Levy finishes this Thursday the 28th, if you haven’t voted please do so.

Below is from Sean Goodwins CE of 100% Pure Honey and APINZ board member, his thoughts on the levy.

 

To all Beekeepers and potential levy payers,

 

Apologies for the generic email. While I would like to have personalised every message, it’s simply not possible given the large audience. The purpose is to share a perspective on two key issues that seem to be driving the discussion on whether to support the commodity levy.

 

I am going to make two assumptions at the outset. These are that you are an independent beekeeper, perhaps from a family-owned business, whose primary source of income is from apiculture. Secondly, that you are generally in agreement that a collective approach to resolving industry issues such as bee health, market access and biosecurity is a good thing. That is important because this email is not intended to cover the rational, basic points supporting a commodity levy.

 

Instead, I would like to address two specific issues that appear to be most often quoted in the press and emails criticising the proposal. They are the affordability of a levy at this particular time; and the corporate focus of Apiculture NZ as an industry body.

 

Before I do that, it’s important to state that the company I represent will not be a potential levy payer (given we do not own hives) and as a board member of ApiNZ, I won’t have a say in the utilisation of levy funds. Our company was founded and is still owned by a man who has spent his entire life working in the bee industry. We have been supporters of industry unification and have invested significant amounts of money to assist industry-good projects. We are passionate about the long-term sustainability of beekeeping and the apiculture sector.

 

To consider the affordability of a levy, we must address what is happening with honey supply and pricing. In my view, the medium-term (2-3 year) prospects for mono-floral Manuka honey are very positive. I believe genuine consumer demand internationally exceeds supply and prices will not only stabilise but likely rise again. Currently we have some short-term issues that mean we are not seeing a true correlation between consumer and buyer demand (such as the volume of honey in warehouses and stores), and we are facing increased pressure from Australian honey in every market, however I believe this will be resolved.

 

The situation is not so positive for native floral and multi-floral honeys, whose pricing has been driven up in recent years by artificial demand (related to a lack of standard for Manuka honey). With a clear regulatory standard in place, the demand for those honeys has now reverted to where it was previously in terms of individual floral types. Unfortunately that means they must compete with global honeys that sell for much less than what our beekeepers were receiving in the past couple of seasons.

 

I believe we can create greater demand and therefore higher pricing for our non-Manuka honeys, however it must be done by having a clear message around the value of NZ-Inc. It doesn’t matter how much we personally like Tawari, Rewarewa or Kamahi, our international customers are primarily drawn to the fact it has come from New Zealand and that it is pure. As such we need to ensure our industry is professional, our bees are healthy and all of our honeys continue to be free of adulteration.

 

Coming back to the levy, we must have a joint effort to ensure  the industry moves forward and supports non-Manuka honeys. Even at $5/kg, the proposed $0.10/kg levy represents just 2% and is a small contribution for long-term success. Our focus should be on using this money to enhance non-Manuka honeys so that pricing can move to $7, then $8/kg in the coming years. Without a levy we are likely to be left in a situation where demand is flat and pricing stagnates for the foreseeable future.

 

One further point on affordability. It’s important to remember that the proposed levy is not payable on the current season. If approved, it will be implemented later this year for the 2019/20 season and payable in October 2020. For those beekeepers that are unable to sell honey right now, this means you will have stock to sell next year that hasn’t attracted a levy. That should help lessen impact in the first year.

 

The other major point I would like to address is the perception that Apiculture NZ is somehow a corporate organisation or only operates to support corporate beekeepers. Firstly, the current board has four commercial beekeeper representatives. Three of these people are regionally-based, independent, family-owned beekeepers like yourselves. The fourth does work for a corporate honey company, however in her defence she brings a new (and diverse) perspective to our board and, importantly, she was elected uncontested last year.

 

In terms of the Apiculture NZ organisation, I refute that this is also somehow corporate. I do believe it needs to be more in touch with regional members and less centrally-based, however this can be changed. The organisation belongs to its members and if they want to see a different approach, let’s make that happen. The important point is that we don’t lose this opportunity of establishing a commodity levy for industry good, simply because the organisation is not working perfectly.

 

Under a commodity levy there will be additional levy-payer representatives on the board and they will ultimately be accountable to you on the utilisation of funds. I may still be part of the governance board and I believe it’s important to have all industry players represented, however I won’t have a say on how levy funds are used.

 

Unlike you, I don’t carry a hive tool in the door and a veil in the glove box of my car. I do however deal with fantastic, passionate, independent beekeepers on a daily basis so I know something of your struggles. I spend my time visiting international customers and trying my best to build a strong, global business that will support you with growing demand and higher prices.

 

If you want to be part of a sustainable and profitable industry for the long-term, I would encourage you to vote YES.

 

If you are happy with the status quo, in terms of supply and pricing; if you are happy with Australian honey producers cutting your lunch; if you are comfortable passing the hat around to resolve important science and research issues; if you’re okay with the government regulating and potentially adding cost to the industry because they see that we can’t offer a unified voice; or if you accept that the large, corporate honey companies will band together to resolve major issues while everyone else sorts it out for themselves, then vote No. Either way, don’t sit back and let others control your future. Please exercise your vote.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please let me know if you would like to discuss the levy further.

 

On behalf of Steve Lyttle and Carolyn Ball, owners of 100% Pure New Zealand Honey Ltd.

 

Best Regards 

Sean Goodwin
Chief Executive

 


Tel +64 3 688 7150 

Mobile +64 21872583
15 Treneglos Street, Timaru 7910, New Zealand

PO Box 2155, Timaru 7910, New Zealand
www.purenewzealandhoney.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis

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Why do I feel uneasy that a privately owned company is about to start calling the shots for the entire NZ honey producers...I thought that was why we had a government.

Hope this ends well for you guys.

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10 minutes ago, mischief said:

Why do I feel uneasy that a privately owned company is about to start calling the shots for the entire NZ honey producers...I thought that was why we had a government.

Hope this ends well for you guys.

 

Or more to the point if you see Comvita's result from today, large underperforming companies.  It is hard to take any confidence from it.

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