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New Legislation For Apple And Pear Board

Legislation to enable the Apple and Pear industry to reposition itself to respond better to the challenges of the international marketplace was introduced in Parliament this afternoon.

The Apple and Pear Industry Restructuring Bill will enable a set of proposals agreed to between Government and the industry, Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton and Finance Minister Sir William Birch announced today.

The proposals will:

* corporatise the commercial assets of the board into a company with shares held directly by growers; allow shares to be tradable among growers only; retain regulatory controls on exporting of apples and pears;
* establish a separate regulatory body to monitor the company's compliance with special rules on the new company relating to non discrimination, non diversification, information disclosure, arms length rules and other shareholder protections; and separate decisions about licensing from the new company;
* deregulate on-shore activities by moving the point of acquisition to "free alongside ship";
* separate the board's on-shore assets into a separate subsidiary to be operated at arm's length from the new company.

"The Bill will clearly define ownership of the industry with growers and enable them to exercise normal shareholder rights and disciplines.

"The legislation follows that introduced last week for the dairy industry. This package is very different because of the distinct nature of each industry as well as the different stages of their evolution.

"The dairy industry already has clearly defined ownership while the Apple and Pear Marketing Board does not. This Bill remedies that.

"The Apple and Pear industry has responded to Government invitations to consider changing the legislation which covers the Apple and Pear Marketing Board as a means of improving grower incomes. The Bill introduced today is the result of intensive discussions between Government and industry leaders over recent months.

The Board has advised the Government that, following consultation with growers, the overwhelming majority of growers support the proposals.

"The Bill will spend about five weeks in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee to let growers and any other parties make submissions. The Bill will be reported back in early September for enactment this year." "This is an exciting opportunity to make a transition to a new era based on commercial disciplines, innovation and increased wealth for apple growers and the New Zealand economy," the Ministers concluded.


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