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.