Funding the plan

A Pest Management Plan Funded Entirely by the Beekeeping Industry

Background

The American Foulbrood National Pest Management Strategy (Renamed Plan in 2012) was originally funded by a commodity levy paid under the Commodity Levies (Bee Products) Order 1996. The levy was struck at a rate of $50.00 for the first apiary and $22.00 for each subsequent apiary. Beekeepers owning fewer than 11 hives on no more than 3 apiaries were exempt from paying any levy. The levy was used for a variety of purposes, including running the National Beekeeper’s Association (NBA), funding a marketing programme for honey and paying the for the American foulbrood Strategy. The Strategy at this time also included a significant research budget. In 1998, the Strategy received 31% of funds collected under the levy, equating to levy rates of $15.50 for the first apiary and $6.82 for each successive apiary. This levy expired on 2 December 2002.

In late 2002, there was a split in the Association, with a substantial number of members leaving to set up a new industry body within Federated Farmers group. This new group is referred to as the Bee Industry Group, with membership being optional. It is fair to say that most hobbyists and numerous commercial operators do not belong to either organisation. This change in in circumstances dictated that a new levy structure was needed, requiring separate funding of the Strategy from membership of the NBA and any other discretionary activities such as marketing.

A new levy under the Biosecurity Act 1993, more specifically Biosecurity (American Foulbrood – Apiary and Beekeeper Levy) Order 2003 was gazetted on 23 October 2003. This levy (charged annually) has 2 components, these being:

  • A fixed base charge of $20.00 per registered beekeeper.
  • Plus a per apiary charge of $15.17 (Current rate)

The amounts as totalled are plus GST. The Board of Management under the Order 2003 can under clause 8 set the apiary level only up to a maximum of $15.17 per apiary.

The Plan income is determined by the levy rate, the number of apiaries registered as at 31 March of the previous levy years and the collection rate.

Commentary

There is a misconception by certain beekeepers that this levy is a subscription to a club with membership being discretionary. It is not, it is a government imposed levy and has the same status as income tax, in that it is a legal requirement by way of the above Order 2003.

The determination of the levy has been discussed above however it is incumbent upon the Board of Management to notify to industry the rate for the forthcoming year. This can be done by way of the Gazette, the New Zealand Beekeeper Journal (NBA publication) or on the Plan’s website. The Board of Management takes the matter of notification seriously and endeavours to ensure all beekeepers are covered.

The levy invoice is mailed to all beekeepers by 20 April of each year, with payment due on 1 June.

It is appropriate at this point we draw attention to the Board of Management policy AFB/22/0/11 – 027 included under policies in the drop down menu of this site referring to invoicing, payment and collection of levies. Please take a moment to read this policy.

It is also the responsibility of the Board of Management to provide for industry a budget for the forthcoming financial year. This by tradition is included in the October issue of the New Zealand Beekeeper Journal along with notification of the proposed apiary levy rate. It is to be noted that the April and October issues of the journal are mailed to all registered beekeepers.

IMPORTANT

The Order 2003, clause 6(2) clearly states the Board of Management, or it’s agent, is entitled to recover costs associated with collection. This means that if it is considered necessary to hand a debt owing the Plan over to a collection agency, all expenses incurred in recovering that debt is a charge to the defaulter.

The Levy Order 2003

A copy of the Order (Reprinted as at 18 September 2012) can be found here.

Rex Baynes
 AFB PMP Manager