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Govt must help Meat Board fight Germans

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

12 March 2001

Govt must help Meat Board fight German misinformation

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley has called on the Government to put its money where its mouth is over the shocking incident in which a German statutory body maligned our country's reputation.

The Central Marketing Association for German Agricultural Products has widely distributed a pamphlet incorrectly asserting that New Zealand sheep have scrapie, a potentially lethal illness similar to BSE.

"That malicious lie damages the reputation of New Zealand's primary sector, and that reputation is too important to leave undefended," Mrs Shipley said.

"The Government must commit itself to assisting our Meat Board so it can take legal action against the German organisation which has spread this misinformation in order to get a retraction.

"A prompt, effective response is called for, but Jim Sutton seems content to sit wringing his hands and bleating about how unfair the German incident is.

"The actions of the German board were patently untrue and prejudicial and a legal response is merited. Even if the matter does not go to court it is quite clear that the threat of legal action would spur the Germans into action a lot quicker than Mr Sutton's hand-wringing.

"This Government should display some intestinal fortitude for once and deal with this important issue," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends


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