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Sutton Getting Impatient With Attacks on Committee

February 2000
Sutton Getting Impatient With Attacks on Committee

The Minister of Agriculture, Jim Sutton, said today he was becoming increasingly impatient with attempts to put pressure on the independent Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee.

“The committee is an independent body, set up as part of the reform package that was agreed to with the industry, with its members appointed by the Apple and Pear Board,” Mr Sutton said. “The Board is an industry representative body and the committee is not a Government authority in any form.”

The committee had been established to address concerns within the industry over the previous system for granting export consents, he said.

“Under that system, the Apple and Pear Marketing Board was both a player and the referee. Nevertheless, the Board granted consents for independent exports of 500,000 cartons of apples last season.

“This season, the independent committee has approved exports of 1.25 million cartons of apples, but it has declined outright applications for 2.4 million cartons, and has further reduced the volume under consideration in applications by just over 2 million cartons.

“It can hardly be said to be reckless on the basis of the volume approved so far, and I am fed up with attempts to interfere when it is trying to do the very job it was set up to do,” Mr Sutton said.

The committee was required to work to specified criteria which were designed to allow export proposals to proceed where they did not undermine ENZA’s marketing activities, and so far he had not seen any evidence that it had breached those rules. If an applicant breached the rules after being granted an export permit, the committee had the power to revoke the permit, he said.

“To stop the committee now would be an act of extreme bad faith to those who have applied for permits, many of whom have already been exporting pipfruit legally and without undermining ENZA, and to those growers who saw an independent committee as a reasonable solution to the dissension that prevailed in their industry,” Mr Sutton said.


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