Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


MAF officials visit Australia for fireblight talks

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials would visit Australia next month to meet with Australian counterparts to discuss the report proposing the strictest conditions in the world on the importation of New Zealand apples, Agriculture and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Biosecurity Australia, the agency responsible for assessing whether to allow plant and animal imports into Australia, made public the draft import risk analysis on New Zealand apples last Wednesday (October 11).

New Zealand has been trying to export fruit into Australia for 78 years but has been continually barred, for fear they might carry fireblight, a disease affecting apple trees.

New Zealand maintains that fireblight is not transmitted by mature fruit.

Mr Sutton, who returned to New Zealand today after attending the Cairns Group of agricultural trading nations meeting in Canada last week, said he would take advice from officials and expert scientists and would carefully consider the import risk analysis (IRA) report.

"If this is not scientifically based, we will take appropriate action. We will certainly be making a submission under the IRA process."

The interim risk analysis is subject to 60 days of consultation, before a final decision is made, probably some time in the new year.

MAF and Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry officials met ENZA and other apple industry groups last Thursday to discuss the IRA proposals, Mr Sutton said. Industry participants told officials that preliminary study of the proposals suggested that apple exports to Australia under the "unjustifiably restrictive" conditions were likely to be uneconomic.

Mr Sutton said MAF officials would visit Australia next month to talk to Australia counterparts, before a New Zealand Government submission was made as part of the IRA consultation process.

Mr Sutton said the IRA report was "pretty disappointing" but the process was not over yet.

He said there was an opportunity for all interested parties to make comments or raise objections of the IRA.

"Australians have had a generation of propaganda that portrays fireblight as the foot and mouth of the horticultural industry ? but it is nothing of the sort. Their fears are unwarranted.

"The risk of infection is minimal and their own scientific report concedes there is absolutely no scientific evidence that fireblight has ever been spread through trade in fruit."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages