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Charlies thrilled at courage of Michael Barnett

3rd November 2004

‘Charlies thrilled at courage of Michael Barnett to resign from crooked Juice Association’

New Zealand owned and operated Juice company Charlies has expressed delight at the announcement that high profile businessman Michael Barnett has resigned as Chairman of the juice industry’s compliance committee.

Charlies Marc Ellis and Stefan Lepionka believe the juice industry is crooked with a number of the big brands intentionally misleading consumers.

“We believe The New Zealand Juice and Beverage Association is in the pocket of the big multi nationals, whose focus is on making water and concentrate based juice products.”

“This belief has now been supported by Michael Barnett’s resignation, citing concern at “the lack of independence and transparency both in the juice association and compliance committee.”

“This throws the compliance committee into chaos after being told by the Commerce Commission to form a body and sharpen up its act.”

The Committee was established after the Commerce Commission investigated members of the industry and handed down prosecutions over misleading claims and labeling of juice.

The investigation was instigated by Charlies who claimed that major players in the industry were falsely labeling products and using ambiguous advertising designed to mislead consumers into purchasing their products.

“The NZJBA had proof of this, which would have aided prosecution but chose to keep it under wraps to protect its members. This is inconceivable from a governing body who purport to have consumers best interests at heart” Stefan Lepionka Charlie’s CEO said.

Michael Barnett believes it is not in the best interests of the organization to have too many multi national corporates on the compliance committee and no smaller companies represented.

“Such actions put at risk the credibility of the Compliance Committee, which given the progress we have made, I am not prepared to be associated with,” said Mr Barnett.

His resignation is effective immediately.

“We have been campaigning for years for the industry to be cleaned up. As a small New Zealand owned brand with two founders on the side of our juice packets, we are infinitely accountable, we don’t hide away in big corporate towers,” said Marc Ellis.

“We would now love to see the Commerce Commission investigate the entire New Zealand Juice and Beverage Association. We believe in doing so they would find the NZJBA is protecting its own interests, with major players using personnel within the NZJBA as puppets to push their corporate agendas”, said Ellis

“We are fed up with misleading labeling and advertising not being investigated within the NZJBA and breaches being swept under the carpet. Kiwi juice consumers deserve better from a governing body who claim to have consumers best interests at heart”

ENDS


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