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Auckland Council proposed Beekeeping Bylaw

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An appleMargaret goes into the big city…..

I finished writing up my presentation and psyched myself up to meet with the hearing committee for the next morning.

The meeting was set-up for submitters to present their cases on any bylaw they may oppose / ideas / concerns, etc.

I packed my apple – my prop for effect.

The meeting started at 9.00am in Auckland central – in the Town Hall – but despite my efforts of leaving over an hour earlier I was late! (Auckland traffic..grrr…!)

…Luckily – with the wonderful support of the democracy administrator – I was able to let her know that I was late and I believe this was conveyed to the committee.

BTW, I really appreciated the support from the staff.

As my name was called I walked up to speakers seat and held up my apple and stated that …its thanks to the Bees that we can enjoy these.

Smiles all round 😀.

Here is my submission to the committee….

Subject: Animal Management Bylaws – proposed ‘Control of Bees'

Submitter: Margaret Groot, 165 Wairere Road, Waitakere Township, Auckland 0782. PH: (09) 8109965

Intro

Local Bodies (council) have always used the ‘nuisance' bylaw to help council staff deal with ‘issues' raised by residents. Often related to neighbour-issues. This nuisance bylaw enabled staff to address ‘ANY' issue which would normally bee resolved through negotiation. If any issue escalated, it was possible for staff to involve the police if necessary. For residents – escalation means they could take-up their own legal action / advice.

The nuisance bylaw worked by enabling residents to invoke the ‘quiet enjoyment' afforded to all persons living in an area, a course of action for any complaint. To continue with this nuisance bylaw would benefit council and would not require any extra resources.

Background

Auckland CouncilThere are two types of Beekeepers, Commercials and Hobbyists.

Central government , through Ministry of Primary Industries manage ‘Beekeeper and Beekeeping' through contractors such as ‘Asure Quality'. Beekeepers already pay to register their land or address where they are keeping Bees (apiary).

They complete an annual disease conformity agreement as part of that agreement requirement.

There are local Bee Clubs, where education is available.

There is the National Beekeeping Association of New Zealand who research and work actively with commercial Beekeepers in all facets of ‘Bee management'. This association is available to Hobbyists and Commercial alike.

Auckland has 85% of green areas available within its boundaries a natural resource which can support Honey Bees.

The Waitakere Ranges provides Honey. Bees with a large foraging area of Manuka, which is acclaimed as resulting in the ‘Best Honey in the world with proven beneficial health properties' – please encourage Beekeeping so as to allow people to have this local healthy resource available to them.

Please don't target Beekeepers with a regulation which may bee used to penalise them.

Save the Bees

Please note: Reference to comments made on the control of Bees proposal – it appears that some of the methods stated, such as ‘…killing Queen Bees to prevent swarming…' Are not commonly practiced amongst Hobbyists beekeepers who value their Bees and who manage them differently by ways of split-method.

My view is that killing queens is not sustainable due to the current state of loss of Bees world-wide.

A hobbyist may well bee the saving grace of the kiwimana Honey Bee, in my opinion, as they do not take-on Beekeeping lightly, I do not agree with council staff comment from review, that ‘..Beekeepers are not registering their apiaries and not willing to do so…'.

My experience is that they are doing so.

There are significant costs involved in taking-up Beekeeping and also a regular commitment of time and energy for, often a small reward of a few jars of Honey for their own use.

The cost of a hive is between $500 to $1200 then buying basic Beekeeping gear including suits and gloves – upwards of $500.

Please note, this is this is the surface of costs of what's involved, this would not include Honey extraction in a commercial kitchen, Honey jars and any extraction gear.

My Points.

1st point is that to create a new bylaw would require the resources to manage it. It would require staff, training, administration, vehicles and facilities – Animal Welfare is a good example of what would bee required.

2nd point is that overall it appears that the council cannot afford such extra cists and from my understanding there re on-going staff redundancies in some departments.

Questions for council.

  • If such a bylaw was introduced – how would ratepayers feel about a possible increase to fund managing a ‘control of Bees' regulation?
  • What will council provide Beekeepers with?
  • With such a regulation, would it more likely penalise Beekeepers with extra fees and perhaps create them as targets?
  • Under the proposed Unitary Plan the proposed Bee rule was submitted to bee added to the Resource Management Act – what precedent would bee set by passing this bylaw?
  • What effect would it have on costs to manage?
  • What costs would then bee imposed?

Please note: The outcome of the proposed fee in the Auckland Plan in 2012, resulted in supporting the keeping of Bees on private land, public land required written consent with no fee payable.

I reiterate that Hobbyist Beekeeping may well bee the saving grace for the Honey Bee.

What is the desired outcome?

  • That anyone can keep Bees on their own private land regardless of land zone in Auckland.
  • That Beekeepers are not charged any extra – as they already pay to keep Bees by registering their land as an apiary through central government.
  • Continue with the ‘nuisance' bylaw for any issue raised by residents or ratepayers, and would give complainant an avenue for their concerns / complaint.

What would this mean for council?

  • benefit is that there would be no added cost.
  • To keep current nuisance – staff would still have a course available to them.

3rd point is that Hobbyist Beekeepers are enjoying the past-time of keeping Bees. Their motivation – in my experience – is so they can help save the Honey Bee, teach their children about the environment, the link with food, health and nature – to enjoy having healthy locally sourced Honey which is beneficial to theirs and their childrens' health.

Conclusion:

I do not support the proposed regulation regarding Bees.
Please keep the line as in the result from submissions to the Auckland Plan – no fee, no regulation for Beekeeping on private land. (SEE our ‘Save the Bee – STOP the fee article HERE)
Thank you for encouraging participation and thanks to the staff who helped submitters through this process.”

Then as I departed …I said enjoy your next apple and think of the Bees.

I felt the presentation was well received and they all had a laugh about the apple.

The next speaker was a Beekeeper from Great Barrier Island, he spoke of encouraging urban beekeeping because of the threats to Bees and other pollinators in agricultural in the form of chemicals harming

Well the rest is up to them and they said they were now going to consider all submissions.

Margaret Groot

Margaret is an avid 'Bee Enthusiast' who manages the Apiary, the Bees and their hives, she also provides Beekeeping Services and training for Beeginner Beekeepers.Phew...if that's not enough... she also works in the workshop assembling Beehive products for customers and the Apiary. (and delivers orders as well : )She loves to BLOG and chat about Bees, nature and Beekeeping.
She loves New Zealand native flora and fauna, her fav is the Kowhai...with Manuka honey close second ; )
Some of you may know that Margaret is a qualified Life Coach, she trained through the Coaching Academy in London and holds DipPC.Adv.

One thought on “Auckland Council proposed Beekeeping Bylaw

  1. bloody hell. What’s the council going to regulate next? Washing socks and hanging them on a clothes line.

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