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Breakthrough for NZ stone fruit exports to Oz

17 August 2006 Media Statement

Breakthrough for NZ stone fruit exports to Australia

Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity, Jim Anderton today welcomed Biosecurity Australia's release of a policy memorandum, which allows access for New Zealand stone fruit to the Western Australian market as an important breakthrough in fruit trade between Australia and New Zealand. He said that the government was pleased that the issues for our stone fruit had been resolved following representations he had made to Biosecurity Australia and the Western Australian administration.

"Exports to Western Australia should be able to begin in the coming stone fruit season, which begins in December. Initially, these exports will, for all practical purposes, be limited to exports from the South Island as it is free of the pest of concern, the Oriental fruit moth.

"This is not of serious concern to the New Zealand Stone Fruit industry as apricots from the South Island make up over 90% of New Zealand's stone fruit exports and, in the first instance, trade is expected to consist primarily of apricots. Stone fruit grown in the North Island will still be given access, but under different conditions, and those will be negotiated over the longer term.

"This decision opens an important new market for New Zealand stone fruit products, which will include apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. It means that our growers will soon be able to invest in the necessary compliance procedures with confidence that all stone fruit from New Zealand will be able to be exported to the Western Australian markets.

"I am sure Western Australians will be happy to get some of New Zealand's finest stone fruit products and seek it out in their shops and supermarkets as we do here. The trade of our stone fruit to Western Australia is estimated to grow to NZ$14 million per year so it is certainly a worthwhile breakthrough," Jim Anderton said today.

For more information, phone Jim Anderton on 021 777 680
OR Sally Griffin on 04 471 9936, cell 021 224 5584

Additional media contacts
Marie Dawkins, Summerfruit NZ on 04 494 9975
Nigel Hinton, grower, packer and exporter (Alexandra) on 0274 320 988

www.beehive.govt.nz/anderton www.progressiveparty.org.nz


Backgrounder

 In 1999, New Zealand requested stone fruit access to Western Australia (WA), following confirmation of the presence of brown rot disease in WA. Previously WA had a ban on imports of stone fruit on the basis that WA was free of brown rot disease.

 New Zealand prioritised access for cherries ahead of other stone fruit and access for New Zealand cherries was granted in January 2003.

 In May 2003, MAF reaffirmed New Zealand's desire for the remaining stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums) to also be granted access to WA.

 After significant delays Biosecurity Australia has agreed, with Western Australia, to an Extension of Existing Policy (EoEP), which will soon allow access for all stone fruit from all of New Zealand.

Ends


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