Australian beekeepers says mānuka dispute with NZ will drive them out of business

Beekeepers in Australia say a dispute with New Zealand over mānuka honey may end up driving many of them out of business.

Kiwi honey producers are seeking to trademark the Māori term mānuka in a number of export markets, meaning only honey coming from New Zealand can use the label.

But the Australian honey industry argues the word has been used to describe honey in the country for more than 100 years.

Mānuka honey is produced from nectar of the Leptospermum scoparium plant, varieties of which grow in both New Zealand and Australia.

"Manuka, as we spell it, we've been using that word since the 1840s. The plant originated in Tasmania," Paul Callander of the Australian Manuka Honey Association told Channel 7.

"We've got every right to be able to use that word."

Australia's manuka industry is forecast to be worth AU$1.27 billion by 2027, supporting thousands of local jobs across farming, beekeeping, manufacturing and other sectors.

Callander said the legal battle over naming rights has wide ramifications for trade between Australia and New Zealand in general, not just the honey industry.

Watch the video to see the full report by Channel 7.