Stop poisoning Bees

Pesticides could decimate New Zealand’s bee population unless the Government takes action, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

“Bees are vital to our economy, our horticulture, our agriculture and our ecology,” Ms Kedgley said. “We depend on them for about one third of our food, through their role as pollinators.”

Bee Week (May 4-8) was the ideal time for the Government to protect honey bees, according to Ms Kedgley: “The government should follow the European Union’s lead and phase out pesticides that are highly toxic to bees.  This action would protect us from the mass deaths that have occurred in other parts of the world.”

The European Parliament recently adopted stringent new regulations to phase out pesticides that are toxic to bees.

“At least 32 pesticides registered for use in New Zealand have been identified as killing bees,” Ms Kedgley said. “They are part of more than 140 formulations, or about 11% of all pesticide products registered here.”

The bee-toxic pesticides include popular home garden products from Yates, Watkins and Garden King, as well as products used in the horticultural and agricultural sectors, such as Dursban, Confidor, Crusier and Poncho.

European beekeepers fear their industry could be wiped out in less than a decade as millions of bees have fallen victim to insecticides, disease and intensive farming. In some parts of Europe 80% of bees were poisoned last year.

The Green MP also called for a stop to honey imports that could bring new viruses into New Zealand: “The government should reverse its decision to allow honey imports from Australia, which has bee diseases not found here.

“We must maintain stringent biosecurity procedures to protect New Zealand bees from new viruses and diseases, and reduce the poisons in their environment.”

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