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Hops Industry Restructuring Bill


Hops Industry Restructuring Bill

The Hops Industry Restructuring Bill had its first reading in Parliament yesterday, and was referred to the Primary Production Select Committee for consideration, Associate Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor has specific responsibility for the hops industry.

He said the bill would increase the industry's responsiveness to international markets and to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. It would reduce compliance costs by removing prescriptive regulations and provides the industry with the autonomy to raise capital for future investment.

"This Bill restructures the New Zealand Hop Marketing Board into a co-operative company, thereby providing hop producers with direct ownership of the company. It also removes regulatory controls on the acquisition and export of hops and hop products. This creates a commercial environment conducive to contestable exporting and subjects the hop industry to the generic business and commercial law framework that applies to other New Zealand businesses.

"This Bill is necessary to achieve the changes required to allow the hop industry to maximise its potential growth in what is a competitive market. A united hop industry approached this government to bring about the desired changes."

Mr O'Connor said he was not surprised the National Party could not tell the difference between this deregulation and the deregulation proposed by former minister John Luxton.

"The National Party has never been one to consult to find out what the real situation is, but rather its members just rush in and shoot their mouths off."

Mr O'Connor said the proposed hops industry deregulation fitted Labour Party policy: it was supported by the majority of the industry, was fair to minority interests, and was in the national interest.

" The Hops Marketing Board got unanimous grower support for the policy for the bill at its annual general meeting last November which alll 26 growers attended.

"The Hops Marketing Board supports the bill, and its conversion into a 100% co-operative company. The Hops Marketing Board sees restructuring and deregulation as necessary given the number of constraints that the empowering Acts and Regulations impose on it."

Mr O'Connor said officials had spoken to hops industry representatives this morning to discuss the bill's first reading, and they had repeated the industry's support for the bill.


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