Honey industry group meets with Ag Minister over levy 'no-vote'

The industry group for New Zealand's honey sector has met with the Minister for Agriculture after commercial honey producers voted against a proposed industry levy.

Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ) wanted to introduce a commodity levy to address challenges around the rapidly growing industry.

The levy would have seen a flat $0.10 per kilogram on all commercial honey, however, commercial beekeepers voted against the idea.

ApiNZ met with Damien O'Connor to discuss the future of the industry and the 'no-vote' result.

Group Chair Bruce Wills said he advised the Minister the result means the group does not have the investment fund needed, nor the collective focus that is characteristic of other primary industries in identifying, deciding and actioning priorities.

"This lack of collective focus makes it particularly challenging to deal with the known issues that face the beekeeping industry, but also to promote the opportunities," he said.

The industry group flagged its concerns with Damien O'Connor.
The industry group flagged its concerns with Damien O'Connor. Photo credit: Newshub

"One of the opportunities we raised with the Minister is how we grow the value of our key native and pastoral monofloral honeys," said Wills.

"This has become a priority for beekeepers given the erosion in prices for all honey types other than mānuka."

He said the Minister was receptive to looking at how industry and government could work together on identifying the value of other native and pastoral monofloral honeys particularly in relation to supporting regional and Māori economic development.

"The critical building blocks for protecting the term mānuka and potentially other native monofloral honeys like rewarewa and kamahi through Certification Trademarks and Geographic Indicators were already underway and are supported by Apiculture New Zealand."

ApiNZ's Board meets next month to discuss next steps and has already signalled its willingness to work with the wider industry to find common ground and look at what types of initiatives are needed to secure a strong and united future for the industry.

"While it is on all our shoulders to protect and grow the value of industry, the Minister's decision to take these further steps to help industry and call for unity is a very strong signal to all stakeholders, both in optimism for the future but for urgency to act now," said Wills.