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Gerry Eckhoff Speech To Pipfruit Growers Protest

Gerry Eckhoff Speech To Pipfruit Growers Protest March

Wednesday 6th Dec 2000 Gerry Eckhoff

Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today

We are here because government regulations say that it is against the law for New Zealand orchardists to have choice.

Instead we have a law that makes orchadists use a statutory monopoly that protects corporate business.

The law is an ass.

Orchardists have been captured by the regulatory regime, the prisoners of an out dated system that will ultimately ruin our pip fruit industry and the hundreds of families who depend upon it.

Orchardists are being told by the government that they do not have the right to decide who sells their fruit. Yet we have the bizarre situation of Jim Sutton, the Minister of Agriculture admitting we are right.

Jim Sutton has publicly stated that it is not the single selling desk that sets prices but world supply and demand. Demand New Zealand orchardists are allowed to meet only if they promise to export through ENZA and not independent exporters who, on average, return up to $8 a carton more.

The government’s position is hypocritical. If it were true that a single seller desk returned better prices why hasn’t the government regulated similar industries like the wine industry for example?

Supporters of ENZA and the single desk say that it is for your own good that we keep the current system. They say that ENZA is the best way to approach world markets. What they don’t say is that if ENZA is as good as they make out then deregulation won’t effect it all. Orchardists will still be able to use ENZA if they wish, but they won’t be forced to use it as they are now.

You are not here today to demand ENZA be dumped, disbanded or trashed, you are here asking for choice. The choice to sell your apples where and when you like be it to ENZA, Australia or Mars. All that is important is that you have the choice.

Only the ACT party has consistently argued on the side of choice and freedom for New Zealand orchardists. Ands ACT wholeheartedly supports your fight to get Jim Sutton to show leadership on this issue. Leadership that is needed now before more apples go to waste, more orchardists are bankrupted and more families are destroyed.

I will be asking Jim Sutton in parliament today if he cares about your fight and what urgent action is he taking to address it. I promise you that I will pursue this issue until you have the freedom and choice you desperately deserve.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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