26 Jul 2018

Beekeepers will feel the sting if industry implements levy

5:53 pm on 26 July 2018

Some beekeepers are opposing a planned levy on honey, saying it will sting small operators.

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none Photo: photo nz

The industry group, Apiculture New Zealand, is seeking feedback on whether to introduce a commodity levy on honey, to help manage and leverage rapid industry growth.

The proposed levy would be 10 cents per kilogram of honey sold - and collect about two million dollars a year.

But Beekeepers New Zealand president and Arataki Honey owner Russell Berry said the levy would put family beekeeping businesses under even more pressure.

"Apart from the larger corporates and those lucky enough to produce good crops of mānuka honey, ordinary beekeeping businesses are suffering from falling bulk honey prices and competitive pressure from too many beehives.

"Big mānuka honey producers might just be able to manage the 10 cent-a-kg levy but most beekeeping is not for high value export mānuka honey."

Mr Berry said if the honey tax went ahead it would cost his family business about $100,000 a year.

It would be better if funds were collected for specific industry projects as required, he said.

Apiculture New Zealand's chief executive Karin Kos said the levy was in line with what other primary sector groups faced.

"I think this industry understands that it has grown enormously and that its time to step up in how it funds and invests in itself.

"At the end of the day, we are a primary sector, we've got a big job to do in making sure our bees stay healthy and that we are managing our biosecurity."

Ms Kos said it would be meeting with beekeepers to discuss the proposal, which was subject to a referendum later this year.