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Sword Finally Lifted

27 July 2004
Sword Finally Lifted

Beef and sheep farmers are relieved that a long-running saga over meat quota allocated in the 1990s has finally drawn to a close, said Ian Corney, Chairman of the New Zealand Meat and Fibre Producers' Council.

"This sorry episode has hung like a sword of Damocles over the industry since 1997. It should not have dragged on so long."

NZMFP is an industry group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr Corney's comments follow the Privy Council's majority decision upholding appeals by the New Zealand Meat Board and the Meat Industry Association against judgments involving two collapsed meat companies.

"Make no mistake. Farmers are pleased about the judgment. Farmers stood to weather a multi-million dollar hit to their financial reserves held by the Meat Board if the Privy Council decision had gone the other way.

"A case like this shows the importance of ringfencing farmers' reserves from the quota administration functions of the Meat Board," he said.

“Federated Farmers has strongly advocated for stronger protections around farmers' reserves -- which logically should not be used to prop up quota management," said Mr Corney. The Meat Board has $100 million of reserves held on behalf of farmers.

"We are pleased that under legislation which came into force this month farmers reserves are tapped only as a last resort, and should be refunded by quota holders. They are the direct beneficiaries of the quota administration function of the Meat Board, not farmers," Mr Corney said.

ENDS

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