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Jones Speech: Access For NZ Apples Into Australia

22 June 2005

Speech by Dail Jones on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 on the Steps of Parliament – approximately 1.30pm

Access For New Zealand Apples Into Australia

When the Rt Hon Winston Peters attended the pipfruit conference held in Hawkes Bay in April and spoke with members of the Australian Access Action Group, he promised New Zealand First would take this issue back to Parliament and get something done about it.

New Zealand First has fought hard since then for this issue to be put on the Government’s agenda and for the Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton to do something constructive about it.

Now all of a sudden we see leaders of other Political parties jumping on the bandwagon and riding on the coat tails of New Zealand First’s efforts on behalf the fruit growers of New Zealand.

Access for New Zealand apples into Australia has been blocked for nearly a century.

This is outrageous given that New Zealand and Australia are supposed to have one of the most sought after bilateral trade agreements in the world

This is a sad indictment on our Closer Economic Relations and has been merely greeted with yawns from the Labour and National Government.

It’s about time our Government went into bat for those who create wealth and jobs for our country.

We all need to support and stand up for the hard working fruit growers of New Zealand who have been treated grossly unfairly for far too long.

Next time you go to the supermarket, think twice before you decide to put an Australian made product in your supermarket trolley.

The Australian's must be held to account for hiding behind a health clause that does not stand up to the facts.

There is plenty of research to prove that there is no compelling reason why Australia still refuses to take our apples.

The research has been done and the next step is for the Government to convince the regulatory authorities in the importing countries that the possibility of fire blight entering their shores via a carton of New Zealand apples is virtually impossible.

Fruit growers are rightfully outraged that the Minister has opted for the weak approach of placing this important issue on the agenda of this month's meeting of the WTO's sanitary and phytosanitary committee.

We have a feeble Government who lacks the sufficient courage to take the available “dispute settlement action” with the WTO for fear of offending the Australians.

His inaction is hurting the apple industry and therefore the New Zealand economy.

New Zealand First believes trading partners should operate in an absolutely fair and transparent manner.

New Zealand First will give priority to gaining access for New Zealand apples to the Australian market and will take all the necessary and available avenues to do so.

ENDS

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