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ZESPRI announces settlement of historical dispute

MEDIA RELEASE 30 October 2006

ZESPRI announces settlement of historical dispute

ZESPRI announced today it had reached settlement of an historical dispute with Aotearoa Kiwifruit Export Limited (AKE) and a number of AKE growers regarding loadout of kiwifruit in the 2002 season.

ZESPRI suspended loadouts of AKE’s fruit into the ZESPRI inventory for a period of nine weeks in 2002, while it investigated findings of AKE-branded kiwifruit in export markets. The dispute was heard in the High Court in August of 2005.

AKE Spokesman Bruce Norman claimed that the actions taken by ZESPRI in 2002 were punitive and disciplinary in nature, and therefore were inconsistent with the entire restructuring of the kiwifruit industry, and the scheme of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations. This view was upheld by the High Court in its judgement.

ZESPRI Chairman Craig Greenlees said that ZESPRI was motivated by the desire to protect returns for all growers in the industry. “As custodian of the single point of market entry for kiwifruit, ZESPRI holds a privileged position, and had a duty to behave fairly and responsibly towards all growers."

Mr Greenlees acknowledged that the specific actions taken were inappropriate, and expressed the ZESPRI Board’s regret that this was the case.

ENDS

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