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Did BA/MAF breach the Biosecurity Act 1993 by careless action?


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Is anybody holding MAF accountable for their failures?

So-far they have done a 'lousy job' and are about to - or already have - jeopardise NZ's economy. And with that our lives!

I believe this is far more serious than we could possibly imagine.

No bees = no fruit, no vegg, no pollination, no food, no honey...the list is endless!!!

Seriously, is there a way to take MF to court?

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At the bare minimum, MAF should foot the bill and pay ALL Beekeepers for the treatment of ALL Bee-Colonies against Varroa, Nosema and the loss of hives succumbed to AFB and any other disease MAF has failed to keep out of our country.

 

It sounds to me like - MAF makes 'laws' for everybody else but fails to do the job 'we' have entrusted them to do.

After all - 'we' are paying 'them' with our taxes.

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It's an interesting game of Russian roulette that MAF plays, unfortunately the gun is always aimed at our heads not theirs.

 

Yes but they don't use revolvers any more. Because of our high speed, high technology world the revolvers have turned into bloody great machine guns, but MAF still insists at pointing them at our heads.

Of course in this modern world no one is every held accountable and theythen blame some rubbish or scientific hallucination of Global Warming (but let's not go there as I think the bees would like another 5 deg of temp).

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Seriously, is there a way to take MF to court?

 

There is the Crown Organizations (criminal liability) act 2002 but first a specific case of criminal negligence/liability must be discovered. Trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted. I guess a lawyer is then required to bring a civil case against them. I dont know if an individual can but they would have to be pretty clued up in the law and aspects of the courtroom to proceed. Time and money. I would be willing to help in what ever way I could.

 

I often drive past the MAF policy building and wonder if I should call in and have a chat with someone there but dont know what tack to take on what particular subject. What are the questions that need answering?

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There is the Crown Organizations (criminal liability) act 2002 but first a specific case of criminal negligence/liability must be discovered. Trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted. I guess a lawyer is then required to bring a civil case against them. I dont know if an individual can but they would have to be pretty clued up in the law and aspects of the courtroom to proceed. Time and money. I would be willing to help in what ever way I could.

I wonder if there is a more subtle way. Starting out with the big guns could end up in an 'endless' war.

What would happen if Beekeepers send invoices for Varroa treatment to the Biosecurity Agency. Also invoices for lost hives because of AFB, treatment for Nosema, Deformed Wing Virus, etc, etc...

Should the Biosecurity Agency refuse to pay, we could take them to the Small Claims Court and if we win, we would create a case of precedence.

Then we could take out 'Big Bertha' and take MAF to court for criminal negligence.

We could also pass in a vote of 'no confidence' and have the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry replaced.

I believe this is the way 'Right' is created in this country!

One alone won't stand a chance, but if 'WE' as Beekeepers of this country act as 'ONE', we could drill a hole that would certainly empty the tank.

For all this we need advice from somebody who 'knows' the law inside out!

What you reckon - Loins?

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One alone won't stand a chance, but if 'WE' as Beekeepers of this country act as 'ONE', we could drill a hole that would certainly empty the tank.

For all this we need advice from somebody who 'knows' the law inside out!

What you reckon - Loins?

 

I think a better course might be to make a civil claim of misfeasance under common law against the regulatory authority in question. Essentially claim damages caused by careless actions by the defendant. As the claim is careless rather than illegal action it might be an attainable hurdle. If we (beekeepers as a collective) could bring a class action against say MAF allowing Varroa in through careless actions there may be a case to answer. Notwithstanding the costs of such an action receipt of damages won't fix the varroa problem. Some other reader may know if there are time limits to cases like this brought under common law and whether there are statutory protections to the agencies that approved the imports that allegedly caused the damage to the bee industry. Assessing damages won't be impossible but finding a party to sue may be more problematic.

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a better course might be to make a civil claim of misfeasance under common law against the regulatory authority in question. Essentially claim damages caused by careless actions by the defendant. As the claim is careless rather than illegal action it might be an attainable hurdle. If we (beekeepers as a collective) could bring a class action against say MAF allowing Varroa in through careless actions there may be a case to answer. Notwithstanding the costs of such an action receipt of damages won't fix the varroa problem. Some other reader may know if there are time limits to cases like this brought under common law and whether there are statutory protections to the agencies that approved the imports that allegedly caused the damage to the bee industry. Assessing damages won't be impossible but finding a party to sue may be more problematic.

 

Under section 52 and 53 of the Biosecurity Act, any 'person' who breaches this Act can be held liable and can be prosecuted.

  • enforcement of section 52 and 53 prohibitions (which make it an offence to sell, propagate, breed, release or display an unwanted organism or pest)

The top of the chain would be the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, David Carter.

 

No it won't 'fix' the problems, but why should 'WE' Beekeepers foot the bill for MAF's careless actions? It doesn't really matter 'how' Varroa, Nosema, Deformed Wing Virus and AFB got into this country, it's too late now. It is about the BA and MAF having failed to prevent these biosecurity threats from entering New Zealand.

I wonder if we could/should join forces with the Kiwi-fruit orchardists who are certainly not happy either?

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the NBA took MAF to court over one aspect of the importation of honey and won . The net result to all the money spent on this was a swift change to the law. I will be attempting to put forward a remit to this year's conference. I am unsure quite how I will word this yet but the intent will be to show our unanimous condemnation of honey imports and the risks they entail. If anyone has any good ideas please let me know. Personally I'm inclined to think we should attempt to bypass MAF completely perhaps with a vote of no confidence and try and deal directly with the Minister preferably with a large contingent of the press watching on. I know this is not how politics is played but we've tried protests in the past and we've tried constructive dialogue and butt kissing. You might not think so from some of my posts but by nature I just want to be left alone. Where ever possible I prefer consensus but the repeated ongoing and serious lapses in our bio security is ruining our lives, our lifestyles and our livelihoods. It is not just our bees that are in danger but every living thing in our country.

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the NBA took MAF to court over one aspect of the importation of honey and won . The net result to all the money spent on this was a swift change to the law. I will be attempting to put forward a remit to this year's conference. I am unsure quite how I will word this yet but the intent will be to show our unanimous condemnation of honey imports and the risks they entail. If anyone has any good ideas please let me know. Personally I'm inclined to think we should attempt to bypass MAF completely perhaps with a vote of no confidence and try and deal directly with the Minister preferably with a large contingent of the press watching on. I know this is not how politics is played but we've tried protests in the past and we've tried constructive dialogue and butt kissing. You might not think so from some of my posts but by nature I just want to be left alone. Where ever possible I prefer consensus but the repeated ongoing and serious lapses in our bio security is ruining our lives, our lifestyles and our livelihoods. It is not just our bees that are in danger but every living thing in our country.

John, butt-kissing goes no-where! Constructive dialogue is a waste of time! Media is a powerful tool, as it can create an avalanche!

Education of the public is a lengthy process and not everybody wakes up at the same time.

What I am 'really' afraid of, is when food runs out, this country will run riot. Hungry people will 'kill' for food!

We can all kiss our lifestyles and butts goodbye when there are no more bees. And at the rate BA and MAF are letting in unwanted pests, it is really just a matter of time. And it is running out fast!

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Hey John,

my idea would go to the Governor General and paint the picture.

 

What are we leaving for our children to live for?

What if our carelessness leaves a desert?

Do we want to end up like in the UK where they had to cull and burn livestock?

Do we want to hand pollinate as in China?

 

Not a happy picture - is it?

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Once we know how these things arrived in New Zealand I think the best course to investigate is funding a civil action against the management and department that allowed these importations claiming the tort of misfeasance. Essentially careless actions by an official causing damage. Authorizing honey imports and pollen imports leading to PSA? How did varroa get here? Poor and ineffective border security?

 

$25 - $ 100 from each beekeeper may get us going?

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Once we know how these things arrived in New Zealand I think the best course to investigate is funding a civil action against the management and department that allowed these importations claiming the tort of misfeasance. Essentially careless actions by an official causing damage. Authorizing honey imports and pollen imports leading to PSA? How did varroa get here? Poor and ineffective border security?

 

$25 - $ 100 from each beekeeper may get us going?

The 'HOW' is irrelevant! Totally! MAF has failed, full stop! How is only useful to prevent a repeat - and again irrelevant as these unwanted threats are already here and new threats could come in new ways.

Low cost would be a 'vote of no confidence'. Heads would roll and the country would 'wake-up'!

The Media would be more than willing to assist - for they are bloodhounds and never miss a good story!!!

IF all Beekeepers pay $1 per hive they own we would quickly have enough money in the bag.

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To make a case of misfeasance stick you need to show damages so you do need to link the careless action to the how. I sense that once officials find there is real accountability for their actions we might see changes. Career limiting court action may be the sphincter tightner we need.

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To make a case of misfeasance stick you need to show damages so you do need to link the careless action to the how. I sense that once officials find there is real accountability for their actions we might see changes. Career limiting court action may be the sphincter tightner we need.

I agree, but knowing 'how' bureaucrats work, it could take years before we - if ever - see the results. I don't quite believe MAF would in any form or way publicly admit they have ever made an error. That would be a first in New Zealand?

We would have to fund an independent investigation and MAF/BA would have to give access to documentation. Yeah Right!

I am NOT knocking you! I just want to hit them really hard before they see it coming! Anything that requires an enquiry is normally hopeless.

How long would it take before we could have results of such an investigation? Months or years? What are we talking?

I wish we had a lawyer in our ranks....

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I think that's the point. Leave the enquiry to the court. But the plaintiffs need something to base their allegations on. That is what the initial search should be. Under FOI rules there could be a fair amount that was disclosed to establish whether an action was sensible. It looks like AFB is off the table unless they have taken actions to either worsen the position or not solve it when they could!

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I think that's the point. Leave the enquiry to the court. But the plaintiffs need something to base their allegations on. That is what the initial search should be. Under FOI rules there could be a fair amount that was disclosed to establish whether an action was sensible. It looks like AFB is off the table unless they have taken actions to either worsen the position or not solve it when they could!

There is still enough, without AFB, to go for. Varroa for one, Nosema and the importation of Carniolan semen contaminated with DWV.

Where do we start?

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There is some debate whether nosema ceranai came into the country with the infected kiwifruit pollen or with the infected bee semen.
Interested in your comment John.

 

I read that n ceranae had arrived, in the coramandel. Then later, I read it was a wrong diagnosis and it hadn't arrived.

 

So anyway, what's the story is it here? And if so, how are our bees coping with it?

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I read that n ceranae had arrived, in the coramandel. Then later, I read it was a wrong diagnosis and it hadn't arrived.

 

So anyway, what's the story is it here? And if so, how are our bees coping with it?

 

As I understand it, it has been confirmed. Initially there was a bit of argey bargey as MAF(?) wouldnt' release samples for independent confirmation, but they since have, and yes, it's n ceranae. From memory it might have been confirmed in other locations too.

 

So the next big question, is 'here since when?'. And as it was found through random sampling, the bees carrying it weren't symptomatic. If it's been here a long while and is somewhat widespread, why aren't the bees symptomatic? Are they and we haven't seen it because we haven't been looking for it? Or if they're not typically symptomatic according to what is seen overseas, why not? Is there something here that alters or inhibits expression? Do we have a different type of n ceranae?

 

And of course, if it has just arrived.... how?

 

:) but half of what I know is from picking John's brain anyway.

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nosema cerania is apparently in New Zealand but some people are raising issues of doubt. I honestly have no idea whether it's here or not but I suspect it is. This is a disease that has been implicated in the loss of hundreds of thousands of hives overseas and it is also believed to be synergistic with pesticides and varroa. There has been and will be no deliminating survey to see how far it has spread and no enquiry into how it got into the country. Its timely discovery as Maf attempt to open up honey imports has lead to a few conspiracy theories coming out but I prefer to believe that it is a case of negligence . If anyone out there does it to know the status of nosema cerania in New Zealand could they please post a reply.

Nosema apis is present in every hive in New Zealand to a greater or lesser extent and it is generally thought by scientist that it causes a loss of production of around 10% as well is weakening and sometimes killing hives in the winter and early spring period. Only breeding from healthy vigourous bees helps as does regular comb replacement. It is thought that one of the reasons swarms can do so well when placed in new gear is the lack of spores. Whether it is the new Nosema (how long has it been here) varroa or insecticides or a combination of many factors that is affecting our bees I don't know but something is affecting our hives. Don't get me wrong I have been beekeeping for a long time and I know that many many factors affect bees and every year is different but the percentage of hives suffering from debilitating problems has increased markedly over the last five years and it seems to be getting worse. It is not impossible to keep bees now but it is getting harder, another straw may not break the camel's back but god help it if we don't take the pitchfork away from the bureaucrats.

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What exactly are we taking MAF and the BA to task over?

Is it to prevent further imports of disease?

Is it to compensate for past failures?

Is it just beacuse they are useless?

Am I just not reading these threads properly?

Similar talk started in the "negligent beekeepers" thread but then it was to get MAF to be active against those who put our hobby/livelyhood at risk.

To be a loud voice we all need to be saying the same thing at the same time, otherwise it just sounds like babble.

Lets target one thing at a time to tackle. Whats first?

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What exactly are we taking MAF and the BA to task over?

Is it to prevent further imports of disease?

Is it to compensate for past failures?

Is it just beacuse they are useless?

Am I just not reading these threads properly?

Similar talk started in the "negligent beekeepers" thread but then it was to get MAF to be active against those who put our hobby/livelyhood at risk.

 

 

Given the horse has bolted in respect of disease here I think the order of battle is:

 

1. Ensure the highest possible standards are applied to any future imports with no allowance for a "balance of risk". I think that means imports can only be from disease free countries. If there are none, tough.

 

2. If a claim of misfeasance sticks it should provide damages and perhaps more importantly serve as a critical reminder to decision makers considering approving imports of foreign organisms or organic material to tread extremely carefully.

 

3. Collaterally ensure free trade agreements have protections to ensure imports cannot be enforced under trade rules when disease risks are either known or unknown.

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some of you might be interested in reading about the GIA which you will find on the NBA website. Basically the government wants the beekeepers to sign up to an agreement to cover half the costs of any incursions that affect our industry. If we agree to this we get to discuss various options with them and if we don't we get to pay anyway.They want the whole of the agricultural and horticultural sectors to sign up to this agreement.

I think it would be fairer if the importers who put our livelihoods at risk had to sign up to pay half our costs when they cause a bio security breach of our borders.

The approach being used to get sector groups to sign appears to be little short of a direct threat and is a shameful way for a government to behave.

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