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Key must assert rights of Kiwi exporters

Australia is in breach of its obligations under CER and John Key needs to drop his normal soft, deferential approach to Australia and assert the rights of Kiwi exporters in his talks with Tony Abbott this week, says Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“The decision by Australia’s supermarket duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, to refuse to sell New Zealand vegetables is a fundamental threat to New Zealand’s exporters.

“There is no point in the two countries having abolished tariff barriers over 30 years ago when the supermarket monopolies are achieving the same result by excluding New Zealand exports by a different means.

“Coles has said that it will no longer sell green beans, corn kernels and other products from New Zealand as part of its brand strategy to use only Australian produce. Woolworths has also said it will not stock imported frozen vegetables from New Zealand.

“With the two companies having a retail share of 80 per cent of the Australian market this substantially stops New Zealand exporters from getting vegetables to the Australian consumer. That affects exports worth over $400 million a year and the implications for this spreading to other goods are hugely serious.

“John Key must tell Tony Abbott to end these actions.

“The Australian and New Zealand governments have for more than a decade committed themselves to a Single Economic Market and to removing any behind the border impediments to trade.

“Both have pledged to make it equally easy for companies on either side of the Tasman to do business in the other country as in their own.

“A soft approach by John Key isn’t good enough. It is hypocrisy for the Australian Government to preach a single economic market and allow this situation to continue. It fundamentally undermines CER,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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