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Status Quo Not Good Enough For Growers

ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble today said the situation for many of the country's apple growers was desperate and they needed choice to survive.

"It's ACT's view that if growers wish to belong to ENZA, they should be able to. ACT supports the right of growers to use ENZA, but does not support government forcing growers to sell exclusively to ENZA.

"It's totally unacceptable that when growers can get a higher return somewhere else, they are forced by law to use ENZA.

"Too many politicians have confused export price with returns to growers. What's important is the bottom line return for growers. The fact is that our monopoly marketing system is very expensive and South African apple growers - many of whom were are receiving a lower price but because their costs are lower, are receiving a higher return per hectare than New Zealand growers.

"The National Minority Government has made a faltering step towards deregulation in the reforms before Parliament. ACT will support that step because the status quo is sending growers broke. With the situation so desperate for growers we cannot afford to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"However, let me assure growers that under a National/ACT Government the days of ENZA's monopoly position are numbered. Let me also say that under a Labour/Alliance Government growers will be left under the control of ENZA and they will stay there. The future of choice for growers lies with ACT.

"The work and momentum generated by growers and ACT has pushed the Government to take a step forward. We must stick to our principles and keep pushing to get freedom of choice," said Hon Richard Prebble.

ENDS

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