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Case against Fonterra cynical Govt face-saving

Damien O’Connor
Primary Industries Spokesperson

13 March 2014

Case against Fonterra cynical Govt face-saving

The Ministry of Primary Industry’s legal action against Fonterra is a cynical ploy to make the Prime Minister look good in China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The charges laid by MPI in the Wellington District Court today are a face-saving exercise for John Key on the eve of his mission to China to apologise for Fonterra’s botulism scare last year.

“This whole debacle occurred because food safety testing by Crown research institute AgResearch and oversight by AsureQuality failed.

“While a mistake occurred, Fonterra was relying on advice from government entities which were not adequately resourced.

“Exports to China have rocketed in recent years but the Government’s penny pinching has left MPI lacking the funding it needed to do its job properly.

“This legal action is an insult to our single biggest exporter.

“Fonterra’s only mistake was in taking swift action in response to technical advice, which proved to be flawed.

“These charges raise questions about whether the Government is trying to discredit Fonterra to boost the operations of Oravida in China.

“Oravida was quick to call for more Government action when the botulism scare unfolded.

“Perhaps John Key should take his Justice Minister Judith Collins with him to China?

“There is still one report into the botulism scare yet to be completed. MPI must release this report which it promised to deliver before John Key leaves on his apology tour,” Damien O’Connor says.

ENDS

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