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Creech Way Off The Mark - Woolerton


22 April 2008

Creech Way Off The Mark - Woolerton

New Zealand’s dairy industry is the one shining light in the current climate of exporting gloom and any moves to increase competition in the New Zealand market to reduce high domestic prices will put that success at risk, says New Zealand First primary production spokesperson Doug Woolerton.

Mr Woolerton’s comments follow statements this morning by former cabinet minister and director of independent dairy company Wyatt Creech, that the Government should open Fonterra up to more domestic competition to alleviate high domestic prices for dairy products.

“Retaining Fonterra’s size and co-operative structure is essential if we are to continue to extract good prices from world markets,” said Mr Woolerton.

“My concern is that moves to further increase domestic competition would result in more small companies being snapped up by overseas investors. As we have seen with the takeover of independent producer New Zealand Dairies Ltd by Russian company Nutritek, this is already happening, and would only accelerate if more companies were encouraged to compete domestically.

“It is a bit rich for a director of Open Country Cheese, which sources a lot of its milk supply from Fonterra, to be talking about the need for competition when he was interviewed on television this morning. Mr Creech is a beneficiary of legislation that was passed by a government he was a part of.

“It was also hypocritical of Mr Creech to complain about the effects of high domestic prices only to then admit that most of the cheese from his company was exported.

“Ultimately, if such moves were made, more of our industry would be lost to foreign control, removing any benefit from such competition,” said Mr Woolerton.

ENDS

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