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Fumigation Plant Closure Threatens Exports

The Minister of Agriculture should immediately reverse the decision to close MAF's commercial fumigation treatment plant at Auckland Airport, National's Agriculture spokesperson Gavan Herlihy said today.

"It is totally unacceptable that New Zealand's horticulture exports, especially its flower exports to Japan, could be put in jeopardy by MAF's unilateral decision. Four working days' notice is just totally unrealistic and unacceptable," Mr Herlihy said.

"If the Government no longer believes that such a service is commercially viable, then they should either lease the facility to private enterprise, prepare the business unit for sale to the private sector, or look at bringing in a private sector equity partner.

"While these options are being considered, the Minister must ensure that the facility continues to operate.

"Political rhetoric of late has been strong on Government's new relationship with business. Now is the opportunity for Government to 'walk the walk' rather than just 'talk the talk'.

"I call on Jim Sutton to seek a reprieve on the closure of the facility while commercial alternatives are explored," Mr Herlihy said.


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