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NZ Government To Address Australian Apple Inquiry

New Zealand diplomatic officials have presented a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into the potential importation of New Zealand apples, Agriculture and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry into the administration and management of the import risk assessment process for the import of New Zealand apples. The senate committee is to begin hearing submissions and visiting orchard areas on February 12 and is expected to report by the end of March.

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 said the New Zealand Government was unhappy at the way the Australian Government was handling the apple import application process.

"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."


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