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Ministerial Inquiry Needed For Apple Industry

ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff today called for a Ministerial Inquiry into ENZA's alleged 'legacy costs'.

"It is unacceptable for ENZA's corporate owners (GPG) to attempt to impose so-called 'legacy costs' on the fruit growers of New Zealand.

"Investors bought into the industry after having gone through the process of due diligence. They must have known the potential for growth and the liabilities that ENZA offered.

"There is no legal, ethical or moral obligation for the entire industry to bail out GPG and Fay Richwhite.

It has been reported that ENZA is now promising $6 extra per carton instead of a $4.50 reduction if the entire industry agrees to bail out ENZA and, by association, GPG.

"If this is true, fruit growers must be wondering where the extra money has come from, as ENZA has said that it will cost $4.50 per carton this year to clear the debt - or 83 cents per carton over five years paid for by all growers.

"The 'legacy costs' belong squarely with the shareholders of ENZA, GPG and Fay Richwhite.

"Growers who don't now supply ENZA with fruit and are no longer shareholders should have nothing to do with accepting this debt.

"I believe a Ministerial Inquiry is now necessary. The industry is tearing itself apart with recriminations as to who is responsible for what debt. GPG is now reported to be suing a grower and exporter for a very substantial sum.

"Growers believed the 'legacy' debt was around the $10 million mark. They needed to be informed why this has reportedly now blown out to $56 million. A Ministerial Inquiry would answer this question.

"Jim Sutton must display real leadership until this industry sorts itself out," Gerry Eckhoff said.

Ends


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