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Pipfruit NZ delay levy vote until July

April 5, 2006

Pipfruit NZ delay levy vote until July

Pipfruit New Zealand today announced a further delay in the vote on the country’s apple and pear growers levy until July 2006.

Growers were to vote on the levy in April but the Ministry of Agriculture (MAF) has recommended that voting now take place in July so the vote is based on production from the current season’s crop.

``MAF have pointed to the wording of the (What Act?) Act, which requires voting be based on the previous 12 months’ production,” Pipfruit NZ chief executive Peter Beaven said today.

``Any ballot before July would require growers to guess what their production weighted vote should be, because the levy is only paid on fresh whole fruit, not processed fruit.”

``So we have agreed with MAF to delay the vote until the earliest time that growers will have this information, as export packing is completed.”

Pipfruit NZ has budgeted on receiving $3.6million in levy funds this year and will spend $2.2million of it directly on research and development.

Of the $2.2million, $900,000 is invested in its commercial development company Prevar, while a further $1.3million will be invested in other research projects.

The $900,000 Pipfruit NZ puts into the breeding programme with Prevar leverages a further $7.2 million of Foundation for Research Science and Technology money over six years.

The $1.3million of other research spent by Pipfruit NZ leverages a further $2.77 million of research funds from Government sources.

First updates on the 2006 crop will be made in about two weeks’ time.

``Initial reports are that the crop has excellent colour and taste, but volume in early varieties may be down a little on the pre-season estimate of 15.5 million cases,” Mr Beaven said.

Largest contributors to the export crop are expected to be Hawke’s Bay with 8.7 million cases, and Nelson with 5.6 million. Together, they make up 92 per cent of the domestic harvest.

Apple orchards in 2005 were down 6 per cent since 2002 to 10,980ha, pear orchards were down about 25 per cent (720ha), Statistics NZ said this week.


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