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ENZA Deserves To Lose Statutory Powers

The apple industry is rushing toward disaster, in major part caused by ENZA, the statutory backed apple marketer, ACT’s Rural Spokesman, Owen Jennings said today.

Owen Jennings said the Government should move more quickly to remove ENZA’s remaining monopoly powers so that some order can be returned to the selling season. “Every day brings new reports of growing chaos with growers who are already under severe financial pressure from last year’s poor returns facing ruin. Banks have foreclosed on properties already,” he said.

“ENZA’s performance is weak and is working counter to grower’s best interests. Only ENZA’s propaganda machine and long standing blind allegiance from a few growers keeps it from collapsing.

“The latest debacle comes from ENZA’s inability to properly forecast the size of the Braeburn crop. The unfortunate irony is that through ENZA’s interference the export permit committee turned down applications from independent exporters to put Braeburn crop into markets ENZA could not supply. These exporters are watching in horror as their high quality fruit is turned to apple juice at a minimal return.

“ENZA has once again misread the size of the apple crop, size profile and variety mix. It is bungling instructions to growers, packers, carriers, shippers and marketers. Cargo space ordered has not been used. Delays to the market place run into weeks and are costing growers.

“Meanwhile, ENZA resources are being wasted on stopping independent exporters through the permit committee process.

“A typical case is permit number 2000/28 – apples to Tahiti and Noumea granted to Fresh New Zealand Auckland:
1.Fresh New Zealand ship 4,500 cartons to Tahiti only.
2.ENZA files a complaint with Consents Committee stating that:
- Fresh New Zealand were breaching their consent.
- Fresh New Zealand were “undercutting” ENZA’s proposed price by NZ$8 per carton. In fact, Fresh New Zealand were passing on a saving of $3.
- Fresh New Zealand were undertaking to all customers in the market to consistently undercut whatever ENZA prices were offered. In fact, Fresh New Zealand have only spoken to one customer and dealt with only that one customer.
- Fresh New Zealand is advising the market that it will supply the general market in contravention of its permit. In fact, Fresh New Zealand has had no contact with anyone in the general market.
- Fresh New Zealand is supplying fruit to customers other than the one stated on the permit. In fact, Fresh New Zealand has supplied as per its permit and on one else. Other retailers purchased fruit from the permit customer because ENZA were late supplying them. They forewent their margin to supply their own customers.
- Fresh New Zealand are “destroying” business. In fact, ENZA’s staff for the Pacific region have a good working relationship with Fresh New Zealand and have stated this last week that they are happy with the situation.
- Fresh New Zealand knowingly allowed their one customer to “wholesale” to other customers desperate to get apples in contravention of its permit. In fact, other customers brought apples at retail just to meet their own consumers demands. Fresh New Zealand cannot control who buys at retail.

“This illustration is typical of the frustrating, petty delays caused by ENZA. Why so much aggressive, bureaucratic interference over 4,500 cartons when sales of millions of cartons are at risk and growers are going broke?

“The only sensible course of action is for the Government to step in and create normal marketing conditions by removing ENZA’s remaining monopoly. The consents process is and has become a nightmare with some consent applications 4-5 months overdue for a response. Blocking tactics by ENZA must be stopped.

“I am calling on the Minister of Agriculture to act quickly in the interests of the industry and its growers,” said Owen Jennings.

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