Beekeepers applaud MPI action

The Ministry for Primary Industries is to be congratulated for sending home a Ukrainian couple for allegedly trying to smuggle honey into New Zealand.

That's the message from Tauranga beekeeper Neil Mossop, who says: 'That the honey and pollen were found is good news and sending them home shows that we won't tolerate that kind of action.

Beekeeper Neil Mossop is pleased MPI staff stopped bee products being brought into New Zealand by a Ukrainian couple.

'Ministry staff are to be congratulated.”

Neil, of Mossop's Honey, says he always comes in for extra bio-security scrutiny when he returns from overseas because of his occupation.

'I'd be the last person to bring bee products into New Zealand because that would threaten our company's multi-million dollar business, but I don't mind going through extra security checks,” he adds.

The Ukrainian man and woman were found with nearly three kilogramme of honey and one kilogramme of pollen after a luggage search by MPI staff at Auckland airport on Friday.

MPI's northern border spokesman, Craig Hughes, says the couple had arrived in New Zealand to work at a beekeeping operation in the lower North Island and failed to declare they were carrying any food or other items of biosecurity risk when questioned by MPI staff.

'Untreated honey products are a major biosecurity risk,” says Craig. 'They have the potential to carry diseases that could devastate New Zealand's beekeeping industry.

'They had declared they were apiarists, which is a high-risk occupation for us. That's one of the reasons why our inspectors conducted the search. The fact they were taking the products to a beekeeping area is just mind-boggling.”

As a result of the find, immigration officials refused the couple permission to enter the country. They were sent home on the first available flight.

Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group also applauds the tough line taken by Ministry Border Staff.

Barry Hantz, Federated Farmers Canterbury Bees Chairperson, says deporting the couple not only underscores how serious biosecurity is taken here, it could have also prevented an economic disaster.

'Auckland airport's border staff should take a bow, because you may have helped New Zealand dodge a bullet,” he says.

'It is gutting to see people coming to New Zealand to work in our beekeeping caught trying this on. We need beekeepers as we are short on staff but we don't need people like this.

'If either honey or pollen came across the border it could have been a disaster for our bee industry and New Zealand agriculture.”

Federated Farmers is reminding beekeepers if they are employing international staff, it is imperative that they understand the unique position of the New Zealand Bee Industry.

1 comment

NZ honey

Posted on 23-10-2014 12:41 | By sojourner

NZ honey is the best and most delicious in the world. Why anyone would want to bring honey into the country is beyond me.It's such a vulnerable business, and so much depends on bees in food production, it should be a crime to bring pollen and honey in from overseas.

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