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Share Allocation Plan Unfair to Pipfruit Growers

The Minister of Agriculture, the Hon Jim Sutton, today declined to approve the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board's industry restructuring plan. The restructuring plan contains a share allocation plan and constitution for a new company - ENZA Limited - which is to be formed out of the current assets of the Apple and Pear Marketing Board.

Mr Sutton said he declined to approve the restructuring plan because the proposed share allocation plan did not meet the legal requirement to fairly reflect the ownership rights of growers in the industry.

"The Board has not been able to convince me that shares in ENZA Limited will be allocated to pipfruit growers in a way that fairly reflects supply history, " said Mr Sutton.

The Apple and Pear Industry Restructuring Act 1999 states that the share allocation plan must allocate shares in a manner that fairly reflects the ownership rights of apple and pear growers, based on supply history to the Board. Mr Sutton said the Board's proposal to allocate 70 percent of the shares based on the production of the 1998/99 year is outside the scope of the Act, as it does not give adequate weighting to the supply history of qualifying growers in the years prior to 1998/1999.

"Given this decision, the Act requires me to direct the Board to prepare and submit a revised restructuring plan, which does comply with the Act? Mr Sutton said. He also noted that ?this revised plan must be provided to me by the close of business on 28 January 2000."

The Minister said he understood the basis for share allocation was a key issue for pipfruit growers, but his decision would not delay the corporatisation of the Board.

"The Act requires that the Board convert into ENZA Limited on 1 April 2000. I am confident the Board will be able to come up with an acceptable share allocation formula in time" commented the Minister.

ENDS

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