New Zealand’s beekeepers have slammed proposals to import honey from West Australia for sale on the local market.

If the government-to-government request for import clearance is successful, New Zealanders could be eating West Australian honey by the middle of next year.
Peter Lyttle, president of the Canterbury Beekeepers Association, is adamant, however, that because “the only reason anyone would bring it in was that it was cheaper than buying New Zealand honey […] it would be bad for beekeepers and the only people that would make money out of it would be supermarket chains”.

Speaking to local newspaper, the Timaru Herald, Lyttle explained: “The feeling among beekeepers is they wouldn’t like to see it coming in.” Furthermore, he insisted that, “most New Zealand people wouldn’t particularly like the taste of [West Australian honey]. It’s got quite a lot different taste from New Zealand honey”.

Lyttle acknowledged however that while “this would be very detrimental to beekeepers […] the only grounds to stop it coming in are biosecurity grounds. Just because it’s going to affect us financially is not a reason”.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has stressed that the consultation between the governments is dealing only with biosecurity issues. It has also called for public submissions on the import protocols – and so far none have been received although the deadline is not until the 11 January.