We need to address bee health

The European Commission has just announced exciting plans to restrict the use of bee harming pesticides across Europe.

We need to get the health of bees on the agenda of our Government so that we can protect these vital little insects.

I wrote to the Chair of the Primary Production Select Committee yesterday to get this on the agenda.

Here is my letter, I will keep you updated on our progress.

To Mr Shane Adern
Member for Taranaki-King Country and
Chair of Primary Industry Select Committee
Parliament House

Dear Shane,
Further to my raising bee industry issues in conversation at select committee, I am now more formally raising this with you, particularly following some recent decisions.
I am sure you are aware of the European Commission’s recent decision to put restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids across Europe due to concerns about their impact on pollinators, especially bees.
As the select committee that looks at agriculture, I feel it is our responsibility to assess this issue from a New Zealand perspective. Bees are an undervalued but absolutely crucial part of agriculture and producing food; we cannot take risks with their survival. New Zealand’s National Beekeepers Association estimates that bees contribute $5.1 billion to New Zealand’s economy.
New Zealand has 30 products containing these neonicotinoids approved for agricultural use and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering the application for another. It would be very useful to know what restrictions are currently in place on the use of these chemicals. The Ministers for Environment and Primary Industries have both confirmed to me that New Zealand does not do any monitoring of the use of neonicotinoids.
I am copying in the Clerk of the Committee, Ciaria Lee with the intent that you, as Chair add a notice of business to the Primary Production Select Committee agenda to discuss receiving a briefing on the health of bees.
A briefing was, in 2011, received by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee but was not resolved and so did not result in a report or any recommendations. The issue of pollinator security is more closely suited to the Primary Production committee because of the importance of pollinators to our agricultural sector, and equally the impact of our agricultural activities on bee health.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your support on this issue.

9 Comments Posted

  1. More proof that ‘big business’ puts money first & the environment somewhere further below this.
    Unfortunatley ‘out of sight & mind’ does not magically remove these toxins from the environment.. & when the animals start dying & the water & air, start to taste & smell bad.. it maybe too late ?
    We cant just keep ignoring pollution/toxins & hoping they just go away.
    Good onya Steffan for highlighting this !


  2. Now, this morning, an e-mail detailing that in U.S., the EPA wants to spprove a new pesticide, sulphoxaflor -as toxic or more so than neonicotinoides.
    When will they learn?

  3. Yes,some things really should put a bee in our bonnets and this is one of them. Race Relations Commissioners and a number of other often questionable controversies will fade to insignificance should we one day encounter diminished food production and like problems by ignoring Creations little wonders.

  4. It is very heartening that Steffan Browning is seriously pursuing this issue in relation to the use here in New Zealand, of neonicotinoids and their impact on bees in particular. Because bees are vitally necessary in the production of our food supplies, this is one of the most important issues – which SHOULD receive a LOT of attention – from the public also. Sometimes we take notice only when we are in big trouble!
    I was able to sign a petition received from a group overseas, regarding neonicotinoid use in Europe; it was frustrating not to be able to act in relation to our own country as well! Thanks to Mr Browning for his work on this vital matter.. (NZRN)

  5. This is so important and needs to stay in the limelight or it will likely go under the radar and in a few years time we’ll be wondering where the bees are. Avaaz.org was hugely instrumental in raising the awareness amongst millions of people and ran a global petition. I’d start one with http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?rba13 but haven’t got the time to put the content together, could you help me out with this? Maybe we can get our government to fall in line with the European regulations.

  6. Yes, and I hope it will result in some swift and positive action too. There have been cases of huge numbers of hives collapsing suddenly – one beekeeper up here lost hundreds of hives. Apart from the sudden drop in pollination it has nearly put them out of business.

  7. This is like “The Bee Movie” equivalent, only in the form of a political letter.

    It is however a good example of MPs working in the background and making a difference on issues that will never get a lot of attention, but are nevertheless very important.

    Hopefully Steffan’s non-combative sensible letter will attract an equally sensible and non-combative response.

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