Commercial beekeepers have voted not to support the introduction of a honey levy with only 23.56% voting for the introduction of a commodity levy.
Commenting on the result Bruce Wills, Chair of Apiculture NZ, the industry organisation which led the commodity levy proposal says: “It’s no secret that this is not the outcome I, or the Board, wanted to see. I believe it will set back the development of the honey industry, but I understand that at present commercial beekeepers are hurting with the erosion in honey prices as a result of over-supply, for all floral types other than Manuka honey.”
“We understand that affordability is a real issue for beekeepers at this time. The current season has been disappointing, and many beekeepers are in survival mode and don’t want to incur any extra cost when their revenues are under such pressure.
“The whole of industry must accept the decision the beekeepers have made, but it is a disappointing result for future development of the industry, particularly given the experience and examples of other successful primary sectors who are collectively focused and funded based on everyone contributing financially to industry good outcomes.
“With hindsight, even though the levy was considered to be sustainable in either easy or difficult times, it was not the ideal time to put the levy proposition to the vote. However, despite the outcome the challenges and issues faced by the industry remain the same and ApiNZ is committed to continuing to work on these through its work programmes and industry focus groups.
“Issues such as working with Government to make compliance requirements less onerous and taking action to see how we can grow the value of our key native monofloral honeys, remain priorities. Other issues such as making sure our bees stay healthy and having strong biosecurity programmes in place both to control and prevent new incursions, are also on our agenda.
“What this result illustrates is missing, is the common ground that is characteristic of other industries when identifying, deciding and actioning priorities. We recognise that we need to keep working with the wider industry to find that common ground and to build stronger relationships through shared goals and priorities,” says Mr Wills.
“We will consider all these points at the next meeting of the Board and look at what types of initiatives are required to secure a strong and united future for the industry,” he says.
The voting closed on 1 March 2019. Final results as advised by Electionz.com are:
- Vote Count (based on 26 hives or more): 76.44% voted No compared with 23.56% who voted Yes
- Weighted vote (based on hive numbers of those who voted): the No votes represented 64.03% of the total registered beehives of those who voted; while the Yes votes represented 35.97% of the total registered beehives of those who voted.
- Voter turnout: 60.96% of all eligible voters voted in the levy referendum (being 1,057 votes received from 1,734 eligible honey producers)