Frequently Asked Questions about the industry unification project

Q. What is industry unification?

It started off as members of the National Beekeepers Association (NBA) and Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group (BIG) calling for those two organisations to re-unify. It has since grown into a review of how our industry is represented at an association level and what might be the best approach in future.

Q. Why is industry unification important?

Because it allows for the creation of a single, powerful organisation that can represent industry much more effectively. It will:

  • Provide more strategic direction to industry, helping to promote the industry and enabling it to grow and expand.
  • Give industry a stronger voice and more credibility and influence with government.
  • Allow industry to more effectively tackle key issues like biosecurity management, research, disease control, food safety standards etc etc.
  • Enable the beekeeping industry to work more effectively with the other industries with which we have to deal on a regular basis.

Q. Who decides if and how the industry will unify?

You do. This process is all about getting the views of industry members about how they want to be represented at an industry level.

Q. Who is included in this new industry entity?

The new entity is proposed to represent all aspects of the wider apiculture industry, not just ‘beekeepers’. This way everyone involved in the industry, from hobbyist to major exporter, has the right to become a member and the ability to have their voice heard.

Q. Why should I fill out the survey?

To make sure you get a say in how the industry you are part of is structured and represented. And to make sure the association that you are a member of works as effectively as possible for you.

Q. What happens after the survey?

The IWG will collate all the results and provide feedback to industry so everyone will know the key points that respondents have made. The IWG is concerned to ensure total transparency in this process. Ultimately, the IWG will take the survey feedback and bring recommendations about the new industry structure to the next industry conference timed for later this year.

Q. What / who is the IWG?

The IWG stands for Interim Working Group. It was established after the last apiculture industry conference in 2014 to investigate options around unification and what a ‘unified industry organisation’ might look like, how it would be structured and funded, and what it would do. To ensure wide-ranging representation from all key sectors of the industry, the IWG members were selected from the NBA, BIG and Honey Packers, and the hobbyist sector. The IWG is chaired by Kim Singleton (NBA). The IWG has retained a company called Catalyst to conduct the survey.

Q. Who is Catalyst Ltd.?

For more information about Catalyst see

Q. You say the IWG will bring a proposed structure to the 2015 industry conference – what happens then? Will there be some kind of vote? Will all the 5,000 + beekeepers be asked to vote or just those who attend the conference?

Catalyst and the IWG will review the responses to the survey, consider the comments made and the direction given, and if appropriate, deliver to the NZ Apiculture Conference 2015 a firm proposal for industry unification. The survey response on the question of yes or no to a unified industry will provide the mandate to proceed or not. When the IWG delivers its firm proposal, the IWG will likely ask attendees at the 2015 conference to endorse the firm proposal and instruct the IWG to proceed.

Q. What’s the formal process for establishing a new organisation? Who votes on it? When will that vote occur?

The process, structure and method by which the new organisation will operate will be outlined in the Catalyst proposal for industry unification, based on the responses made to the survey.

Q. Why should I become a member of the new entity – what’s in it for me?

The goals of the new entity will be:

  • To make all sectors of the apiculture industry as strong and as financially viable as possible (if you are part of this industry you will benefit).
  • To deal effectively with issues or risks that threaten our industry (and therefore your business).

The stronger the new entity is, and the more members it has, the more effectively it can do those things on your behalf.

Q. How will the new entity be funded?

See here for a sample budget and suggested funding options. These are a guide based on like sized industry administration cost structures and current apiculture industry projects

Q. How will the new entity be governed, managed and structured?

It’s too early to be specific about some of these things. These questions will largely be decided by you and other industry participants as we move through the process of investigating what might work best for our industry and presenting you with options. The survey Catalyst is running is designed to gather your feedback on these kinds of issues and the IWG will then collate that and present their firm recommendation back to industry at the 2015 conference.

Q. When will industry unification take place?

This can only be determined when the results of the nationwide survey have been reviewed and the firm proposal by Catalyst tabled.

Q. Will existing entities (NBA, FF BIG, BPSC, HPEA etc.) remain?

The current entities will determine their future after consultation with their existing membership, logically some may become part of the new entity, while others may elect to maintain their status. Subject to consideration of the Catalyst proposal, BIG members have already voted to put their support behind the new entity and will become founding members

Q. I believe your survey regarding unification of the bee industry has a number of questions that are flawed. The specific questions I am feel uncomfortable with are:

Questions 7 / 8 / 9, that force you to select 5 options and does not give you the option to choose lesser number of options. (the survey will not continue unless you have selected 5 as far as my understanding goes). This will force participants to the survey to select options they are possibly happy with or do not have an opinion about, leading to false statistics on the perceived issues by the participants.

Your question regarding the representation on the board could be considered pre-mature. It should relate to the issues, focus and main shareholders, stakeholders and beneficiaries. It should also link in with the AFB organisiation and possibly include their responsibilities in my opinion.

Being a hobbyist, it would be great if more information (with examples) of issues and options to manage them could be made available, possibly to be shared via the beekeepers meetings.

In addition, it would be great to give an indication of the expected cost structure and charge model. Many of the hobbyist have strong feelings about sustainable cultivation, but do not have a strong financial base: an expensive, obligatory organisation would make it very difficult for them to participate in this organisation or ultimately become a beekeeper.

Unfortunately, as the survey has already gone out to industry, we are unable to change its structure – though your point is certainly noted. We do not intend to come across as having made firm decisions already, or be premature in our questioning, as this is not the case – the point of the survey is to gauge what you, as an industry member, would like to see happen. When the survey responses are collated, we will have a clearer idea of what this is.

Any new structure will certainly take into consideration the financial base of hobbyist beekeepers, who are and will continue to be important members of industry. No decisions have been made yet about cost structures or charge models, but you can be sure that hobbyists will not be excluded from a new entity due to financial strain. 

Q. The survey forces the user to choose 5 things for this and that during its course. I didn’t want to choose five things and it would not let me continue. So, I could only cancel and give up.

Unfortunately, as the survey has already gone out to industry, we are unable to change its structure – though your point is certainly noted. If you would like to arrange a hard copy of the survey to be posted to you, please email

Q. I note the motion that was passed regarding re-unification and to set up one representative group. My question is 'at what stage will the word 'independent' be used to ensure that the new body is not housed under the old NBA or Federated Farmers? I am very keen to see the two bodies merge however I would like a 'new' organisation.

  • The industry unification survey has been created with a view to understanding what industry members and stakeholders would like the ‘unified industry’ to look like. No decisions have been made yet, so there is no indication at this stage whether the body would be completely new, or adapted from Federated Farmers or NBA. Once the survey results are available, the opinions of industry will be much clearer, and decisions around structure can begin to be considered. The new industry body will represent all of the industry.

Further Information

  • To keep informed about what’s going on, follow us on Twitter: @ApicultureNZ.
  • If you have questions that we haven’t dealt with here, please email them to and the IWG will respond.