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Dry Times Ahead For Wine Industry

Dry Times Ahead For Wine Industry

Thursday 24 Apr 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today warned of the dangers posed by the proposed Wine Bill, and recommended that winemakers look to Australia to see what such dangerous legislation could mean for our own wine industry.

"Around 1,600 Australian wine growers are going broke, and have appealed to the Australian Treasury for financial assistance. Australia's wine industry mirrors our own, and the warning it offers is dire," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Our wine industry has developed successfully under three pages of legislation. The proposed Wine Bill - currently before the Primary Production Select Committee - contains 100 pages of rules and regulations that constrain the export of our wine.

"Under the Bill, growers will have to submit to a panel of `experts' for permission to export wine. New Zealand has already tried a similar system - ENZA - and orchardists went broke. Why should this be any different?

"Bureaucratic controls imposed by the Government will cost small wine growers significantly if the Bill is passed. Few people in the industry seem to understand the ramifications that these constraining regulations will have on an industry that is, very much, still in its infancy.

"There are warnings that a tidal wave of wine is sweeping the world, searching for a place to wash up. Vast over supply is on its way, and our wine industry must stop looking at the world through merlot-tinted glasses.

"We must rapidly develop export markets by whatever means possible. Failure to do so will result in ruin for many of New Zealand's small wine growers, who will not be able to afford the huge cost of market development overseas," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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