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National will take apples dispute 'to the top'

Don Brash - National Party Leader

22 June 2005

National will take apples dispute 'to the top'

The next National Government will invoke the WTO dispute resolution process against Australia for refusing to allow New Zealand apples into the Australian market.

Party Leader Don Brash made the announcement during an address to a protest by the Apple Growers Action Group at Parliament today. The group is urging Labour to take action against Australia for blocking New Zealand apple exports.

Dr Brash says Australia's blocking of New Zealand apples "without a shred of scientific justification" is a blot on its otherwise good trade record.

"Australia is a good friend and ally, but enough is enough.

"Labour should have taken action to resolve this dispute years ago through the WTO's dispute settlement procedure.

"But all Helen Clark and Jim Sutton have done, in an election year sop to the industry, is add this very serious issue to the agenda of the WTO's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee - what a joke. What an insult to these growers.

"This is an intractable dispute. There have been endless years of discussion on it, and simply initiating further discussion at the WTO is a wimpish response.

"After the election, the National Government will immediately invoke the WTO dispute resolution process," says Dr Brash.

The previous National Government took action in the WTO against the United States with regard to lamb tariffs, and against Canada with regard to the subsidization of their dairy exports.

ENDS

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