Wine Bill Introduced
14 October 2002
The Wine Bill has been introduced, and will receive its first reading later this week, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.
The bill sets a framework for the production and processing of wine, provides controls for export assurances, and sets out mechanisms for levy-gathering to fund industry-good activities.
Mr Sutton said New Zealand agricultural exports, especially wine, had an excellent reputation internationally, and the new bill would help maintain that reputation.
He said an important part of the bill was the requirements for assurance and certification on food safety and truth in labelling grounds. The industry had been working on these issues as well, he said.
"It is vital that consumers of our products ? both locally and internationally ? are totally confident that what they are eating or drinking is not only safe, but what they want to consume."
The bill will enable standard to be set and wineries will need to show, through documented systems and procedures, how they comply with these standards. These documented systems and procedures will be pulled together into what we are currently calling a Wine Standards Management Plan. Wineries will be audited by independent auditors to demonstrate their compliance.
Mr Sutton said the New Zealand wine industry had changed considerably. Previously small and focused on the domestic market, the number of wine makers had increased dramatically, the vine area more than doubled between 1990 and 2000, and the value of wine exports increased from $34.7 million in 1992 to $246.4 million this year.
The bill will be referred to the Primary Production Select Committee after it has its first reading, and submissions will be called for.