SFO investigation raises serious questions about Zespri
SFO investigation raises serious questions about
Press Release by ACT Primary Industries Spokesman Don Nicolso
Tuesday, October 22 2013
News that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating Zespri raises serious questions about the company’s operations and the Government’s refusal to look into it, ACT Primary Industries Spokesman Don Nicolson said today.
“The SFO is responsible for investigating serious and complex fraud. While the purpose of the SFO’s investigation is unknown, that it is investigating at all is an indictment on the Minister for Primary Industries’ decision not to initiate his own inquiry," Mr Nicolson said.
“It shows he is not taking our export markets as seriously as he should be.
“The Minister should not use the SFO investigation and the on-going New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) investigation as an excuse for further inaction.
“As a single-desk exporter, our entire kiwifruit industry rests on Zespri’s reputation. If Zespri’s reputation is harmed all New Zealand Kiwifruit growers will be affected – sales will decrease, profits will be lost and jobs will go.
“As Zespri is a Government legislated monopoly, it falls on the Government to ensure it operates to a standard fitting of that privilege.
“ACT has been calling on the Government to initiate an independent inquiry into the monopoly since Zespri was convicted of smuggling in a Chinese court. Better yet, ACT would like the Government to open Zespri up to competition so that growers are not at such high risk from one company’s actions.
“The SFO’s involvement shows that ACT was right to have cause for concern. It is time that Nathan Guy showed more interest in one of New Zealand’s important export companies,” Mr Nicolson said.