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Monday, November 08, 2004

Honey, come to bed.

I am a politico geek. I watch the press releases come pouring in from www.scoop.co.nz everyday.

Most of them are boring and predictable.

This one http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0411/S00192.htm was surely the funniest one I have read this year.
(Please note I have added italics and CAPITALS for comic effect)

NZ's Second-Longest Running Trade Dispute Resolved
Monday, 8 November 2004, 4:41 pm

Press Release: New Zealand Government
Media Statement
8 November 2004

Second-Longest Running Trade Dispute Resolved

New Zealand's second-longest running trade dispute has been successfully resolved, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton welcomed the public notification in the US Federal Register that New Zealand honeybee and honeybee SEMEN may be exported to the United States from 22 November.

"The decision by the United States to allow New Zealand access for both honey bees and honey bee SEMEN is good news. It allows our exporters access into a niche market of randy but unsatisfied US honeybees."

Shipments (how much bee semen can you fit in a whole ship?) will also be able to transit more easily through the United States to Canada.

Mr Sutton said the United States Department of Agriculture has heavily scrutinised the biosecurity implications of importing New Zealand bees and their bee paste and was satisfied our bees pose no threat.

"New Zealand first requested honey bee access to the US in 1978. Efforts by the Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, our Embassy in Washington and the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry have been vital to reach this successful outcome so our bees can now spread their seed far and wide."

There are still some process steps that need to be finalised before trade can commence, for example just how do you collect bee SEMEN in the first place? MAF is drafting the first version of export certificates for the export of bees to continental US and transit through Hawaii. MAF will then negotiate with the United States conditions for the export of honeybees.

Exports of New Zealand honeybees and honeybee SEMEN to the United States are expected to be valued at initially NZ$140,000 a year. Queen bee exports to Canada in 2003 were valued at NZ$1.09m.

ENDS

Far from me to laugh at an export earner. I just wonder what the mighty Untied States had to fear from our little bees’ business. And who knew there was so much money to be made from such a tiny export?

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