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Kiwifruit Industry Should Be In Growers' Hands

Thursday 2nd Sep 1999
Owen Jennings
Media Release -- Economy

ACT has today backed kiwifruit growers wanting the right to market and sell their own fruit.

Speaking in Parliament on the Kiwifruit Industry Reform Bill ACT Rural spokesman, Owen Jennings said Kiwifruit growers should no longer be forced to sell exclusively to the Kiwifruit marketing board.

"This is a fundamental issue of choice. Choice is a key principle of the ACT Party.

"There are two key issues that are missing in this Bill that ACT has fought strongly for. The first is that the Kiwifruit Industry Reform Bill fails to create a provision for a production-weighted vote on whether deregulation is acceptable to growers. Growers should have the right to vote on whether they want to stay with the monopoly single desk seller.

The second is that there should be a sunset clause in this Bill that sets a time limit for an end to the monopoly single desk seller. This is a grave omission. The industry leadership is on record saying that they will be ready for deregulation shortly, so why isn't the Government including a provision for this in the Act?

"Many in the Kiwifruit industry are extremely concerned with key aspects of the changes contained in the Bill. In particular, the inability of growers to market their own product in a climate and structure that affords some certainty and integrity is noticeably absent from the Bill. The concept of collaboration, which remains undefined in the Bill, is a commercial absurdity. No one, including the Minister and the industry leadership, has any idea what collaboration means. ACT fears that collaboration will be used to kill initiative, stifle innovation and halt the move to a fully deregulated environment.

"ACT believes the industry should be deregulated to put it back into the hands of growers and to reward and encourage innovation and initiative," said Owen Jennings. ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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