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New Legislation For Kiwifruit Board

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

The Kiwifruit 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 directly held by producers; allow shares to be tradable among producers only retain regulatory controls on exporting of kiwifruit;

 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 and other shareholder protections; and

* separate decisions about collaborative marketing from the new company.

"The Bill will clearly define ownership of the industry with producers 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 kiwifruit board does not. This Bill remedies that.

"The kiwifruit industry has responded to Government invitations to consider changing the legislation which covers the Kiwifruit 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 producers, the overwhelming majority of producers support the proposals.

"The Bill will spend about five weeks in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee to let producers 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 kiwifruit growers and the New Zealand economy," the Ministers concluded.

ENDS

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