22 Oct 2014

Industry relieved at honey deportation

2:56 pm on 22 October 2014

The deportation of a Ukrainian couple trying to bring honey and pollen into the country is a relief to the bee industry.

Auckland airport border staff turned the couple back after finding three kilos of honey and a kilo of pollen in their luggage.

The pair were coming to New Zealand to work on an apiary in the North Island.

North Canterbury Federated Farmers bee-keeping representative, Barry Hantz, said importing diseases through honey and pollen could be disastrous.

Beekeepers are acutely aware of the risks after seeing the damage done to the kiwifruit industry from Psa disease linked to pollen imports that the former Ministry of Agriculture wrongly allowed in.

"And there are also other diseases that can come in as well, the likes of European foul brood and the Israeli paralysis virus that we don't have in New Zealand. It's in Australia, and they're struggling with it over there, so since we've had varroa, that's been bad enough for us to deal with at this stage."