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NickWallingford

Levy amendment, effective today...

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Posted (edited)

This order, which comes into force on 10 July 2020, amends the Biosecurity (American Foulbrood—Beekeeper Levy) Order 2003 (the principal order). The principal order imposes a levy on beekeepers to fund the implementation of the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan.

 

This order corrects errors that were introduced into the principal order on 16 April 2020 by certain amendments made by the Biosecurity (American Foulbrood—Beekeeper Levy) Amendment Order 2020 (the previous amendment order). Those amendments changed the requirements for when certain things had to occur under the principal order.

 

The effect of correcting the errors is that the management agency must, when fixing and charging a levy for a levy year, do the following things before the levy year starts on 1 June:

consult with beekeepers on how the levy money is to be spent (see clauses 10 and 16 of the principal order); and

fix and notify the rate of levy after the consultation, but before 20 January (see clauses 10 and 12 of the principal order); and

calculate the levy on the basis of the number of bee colonies owned by a beekeeper on 31 March (see clause 7 of the principal order); and

send an account for the levy to each beekeeper at least 28 days before 1 June (see clause 13 of the principal order).

 

The beekeepers must then pay the levy on or before 1 June (see clause 13 of the principal order).

 

An effect of the previous amendment order was that the levy calculated on the basis of the number of bee colonies owned by a beekeeper on 31 March 2020 was said to be for the levy year that started on 1 June 2019 and ended on 31 May 2020. This levy, however, should be for the levy year that started on 1 June 2020 and ends on 31 May 2021. This order includes amendments to Schedule 1 of the principal order to correct the error and to provide for the payment of outstanding amounts of that levy.

Edited by NickWallingford

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Here is a copy of an email I have received from NZ Beekeeping inc.

 

Hello Everyone,

NZ Beekeeping are pleased to share the recognition of the corrections to the Biosecurity (American Foulbrood-Beekeeper Levy Amendment Order (No2) 2020  which has been gazetted this morning. 

We wanted to share with you first, the proposed media release, below.  More information to come on what this means for you.
 

BEGINS:
Time for some accountability over Levy debacle, says NZ Beekeeping Inc.

Apiculture NZ Inc in its role as the Management Agency for the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan actively opposed efforts to fix an obvious error in the recently amended American Foulbrood Levy Order, angrily dismissing the concerns of beekeepers who drew attention to the problem and going so far as to threaten beekeepers with legal action if they didn't pay its illegal invoices. 

Today, NZ Beekeeping Inc President, Jane Lorimer, welcomed the Government’s move to fix the errors in the Levy Order made earlier this year, but called on Apiculture NZ's Board and CEO to take responsibility for the way they handled the issue - something she called shabby, shameful, and bullying.  As the Management Agency the buck stops with them, they should have ensured that the amendment to the levy Order was correct and fit for purpose.  More importantly, it was disgraceful that they refused to listen when NZBI pointed out the problems with the Order. They flatly refused to join NZBI in approaching MPI to have the error corrected and resorted to abuse and threats directed at those of us who were trying to get the problem fixed.

She explained
"The error would have meant that beekeepers paid an extra year's levy over time (so, three years' money over two levy years).  Beekeepers had already paid their 2019-20 levies, but the new invoices sought to charge them for the same levy year again. 
Not only that - the Management Agency was wrongfully charging beekeepers for a full levy year when under the April 2020 amended levy Order it specifically said that the new levy rate applied instead of any rate previously set. In effect the Agency may have only asked beekeepers to pay the difference between what they paid on 1st June 2019 and the new levy rate.” 

"MPI moved to fix the error promptly after NZBI bypassed Apiculture NZ and spoke to MPI, which immediately saw the problem and moved to sort it out.”

She then explained

"The most disappointing thing is that the Agency that manages the levy, Apiculture NZ and the Manager of the PMP, angrily denied there was a problem at every stage, even after we had said we would seek arbitration or a High Court order.”
  

"NZ Beekeeping Inc offered to work with them to get the error fixed quickly and quietly, and was rebuffed.  Beekeepers were threatened with oppressive legal action if they didn't pay".  

Pleasingly but belatedly, these beekeepers’ interests will be protected by the amendment gazetted today.

Jane continued 

"For an organisation that claims to be the peak body for beekeepers in New Zealand, this was shameful behaviour by Apiculture NZ.  The error was obvious and it was relatively simple to fix, yet they ignored it and tried to bully beekeepers. We were described as vexatious, and told we were the “only ones” who thought there was a problem."
 

"We're delighted the error has been fixed and beekeepers large and small will, over time, be saved a whole year's levy.  Now a beekeeper in business for five years will pay five levies, not six.  But we can't overlook Apiculture NZ's behaviour.  We have no confidence in their ability to manage this important biosecurity programme, and we are calling on the government to initiate an independent review of the competence of Apiculture NZ to manage the AFB PMP.  At the very least the AFB Board and the CEO need to step up, own up and account for some very shabby behaviour."
ENDS.

Kind regards
JANE LORIMER
PRESIDENT
 
New Zealand Beekeeping Incorporated
 

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The implication from NZ Beekeeping Incorporated that there was a secret agenda to charge beekeepers 2 years levy for one year, is just plain dishonest.

 

The invoice was sent with the wrong date, but it is still one years levy for one year. The date has now been corrected, and the levy everyone pays will remain unchanged.

 

Nothing to see here, storm in a teacup.

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20 minutes ago, john berry said:

This was a mistake that should have been quickly and quietly fixed in-house.

 

Neither APINZ nor the AFBPMP Management Agency could fix it 'in-house'.  MPI made the mistake, and MPI decided to fix it.

 

But as @Alistairsays, "the levy everyone pays will remain unchanged". 

 

This seems to have been something of a distraction to things that are important for the industry, and driven as much by a desire to embarrass APINZ as anything to do with the levy.

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Exactly right.

 

What's even worse, NZ Beekeeping Incorporated have said "we are calling on the government to initiate an independent review of the competence of Apiculture NZ to manage the AFB PMP"

 

NZ Beekeeping Incorporated should fix their own incompetence before worrying about everybody else. Such as the fake news and bad advice being generated out of their Waikato branch, advising beekeepers not to report AFB incase the management agency come and burn their whole outfit.

 

If an independent government review is required, it should surely be into NZ Beekeeping Incorporated, whose advise is not just dangerous, but bordering on idiocy.

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NZ Beekeeping Inc said "As the Management Agency the buck stops with them, they should have ensured that the amendment to the levy Order was correct and fit for purpose."

 

It wasn't so much new wording introduced by the amendment - the wording at "fault" has been there since the levy was first created.

 

The irony is not lost on me that Jane Lorimer was president of the NBA when the wording for the levy was first put into place back in 2003.  For more than 15 years, clause 7 described the levy on apiaries/hives "...as at 31 March of the levy year for which the levy is payable".  Now, MPI has decided to amend that to "... as at 31 March of the previous levy year."

 

So it has been wrong, and not "fit for purpose" for more than 15 years, and only now does NZ Beekeeping Inc want to call for accountability - but for APINZ, rather than the people who were responsible when the 'mistake' was first made.

 

But I reiterate - it has no practical import.  It simply cost a lot of time, effort and money for all the parties involved.  And some of that money could have been used to contribute to the elimination of AFB instead - that's what makes me sad...

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42 minutes ago, NickWallingford said:

Neither APINZ nor the AFBPMP Management Agency could fix it 'in-house'.  MPI made the mistake, and MPI decided to fix it.

it is good that did happen I suppose to get things right and since I paid my fees ages ago it is hardly of importance to me.

I think John Berry's post above was all that was needed to be said.

But that was not the case, so in response I would counter, that APINZ and the management agency repeatedly denied there was any issue and wrote some emails that in retrospect I think were heavy handed, especially sending them to me when I had already paid.

Could we agree that if APINZ and the Management agency had been more sympathetic then MPI might have fixed it sooner, would that be fair to say?

I don't think it would have been fixed at all if NZB hadn't taken a hard stand and I think APINZ could be seen to have 'played the man, not the ball' in retrospect.

It was certainly a choice made by APINZ to spend our money to fight NZB instead of agreeing.

I definitely don't like this fractious state of affairs. I'd just like to point out that the faults are not just on one side.

Why is this? Well for sure the very existence of NZB created at the end of the NBA and populated by a lot of NBA people in protest to the creation of APINZ does create a political background of gritted teeth. But whether it is fair-go on the TV or Consumer magazine or the omsbudman's office or the small claims tribunal, I think we need to have watchdogs and we need government services  and SOE to keep their eye on the ball. Watchdogs don't always get it right either but whether it is bowel cancer in Southland again or whatever is the latest debacle it is good to air the problem, fix it and move on; also trying to avoid bearing a grudge if we can. I think some of the things that have come to light in recent times and the way they are being fixed gives me a lot of hope. 

 

So, that is my post, it has been fixed by MPI, please can we all move on and don't bear a grudge.

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Moving on would be nice. Unfortunately NZ beekeeping Incorporated do not want to move on, they are now calling for more money to be wasted on a government inquiry. Instead of putting their own house in order.

 

1 hour ago, ChrisM said:

Could we agree that if APINZ and the Management agency had been more sympathetic then MPI might have fixed it sooner, would that be fair to say?

 

It probably is fair to say. But i suspect the reason for their somewhat low tolerance response would be that they have grown weary of dealing with nitpickers. 

 

EOD, changing the 15 year old wording around date has changed nothing on the ground, and nobody was going to be charged 6 years levy for 5 years, that is a fabrication.

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5 hours ago, Alastair said:

Moving on would be nice. Unfortunately NZ beekeeping Incorporated do not want to move on, they are now calling for more money to be wasted on a government inquiry. Instead of putting their own house in order.

 

 

It probably is fair to say. But i suspect the reason for their somewhat low tolerance response would be that they have grown weary of dealing with nitpickers. 

 

EOD, changing the 15 year old wording around date has changed nothing on the ground, and nobody was going to be charged 6 years levy for 5 years, that is a fabrication.

I can tell you that APINZ did have discussions with MPI on this issue, MPI move at their pace sometimes not what we want., but what we have to deal with.

NZBeekeepers were saying that we would all be getting a double invoice which was never the case and telling people to not report AFB or pay their bill,, sometimes you just fight the same battle but pick the teams you do it with.

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