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Government 'must pull finger' on manuka honey standard

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Having announced plans for a Mānuka Honey Standard in 2014, New Zealand First is not accepting any excuse for its lack of delivery as jobs are put at risk.

"We are asking the government to show some urgency on the concerns of our honey exporters," says the Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First and Member of Parliament for Northland.

"One apiarist told me that they spend $5,000 every week on wages for five staff. As every week drags by without the Mānuka Honey Standard it will soon force beekeepers into making some tough calls.

"With the Mānuka Honey Standard this government has sprayed and walked away. Announced in mid-2014, it was meant to be out by mid-last year so where is it?

"We’ve been told a General Requirement for Export (called a GREX) is supposedly due in April but on National’s form that could be 2018 and not 2017.

"National’s ‘public service time’ is having a knock-on effect upon Northland’s beekeepers and no doubt, most apiarists throughout the country. It is causing the entire industry to grind to a halt and headlines in Britain’s Sunday Times do not help.

"The big processors do not want to be caught holding stocks of Mānuka if a new standard suddenly devalues it as Comvita has already noted. They have stopped buying and it is spreading beyond Mānuka and into the entire bee industry.

"New Zealand First will support the standard if the industry is supportive and it needs to be released before people start losing their businesses and workers their jobs," Mr Peters said.

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