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Minister Should Follow his own Logic

1 December 2000

Pipfruit growers have responded angrily to Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton's assertion that they are "scare mongering" by voicing their fears that many apples will rot this coming season because they won't be able to be exported.

Pipfruit growers have been demanding a relaxation of the Apple and Pear Export Regulations to allow more independent exports in the wake of ENZA's announcement that it will not accept a sizeable portion of the coming fruit harvest for export.

Grower Survival Group chairman, Peter Young says that "the Minister needs to talk to growers to gain an understanding of our plight."

"He needs to get better information than what ENZA's spin doctors give him.

"The fact is that growers don't yet have supply contracts with ENZA and we will not have any prices from ENZA until February. So the industry does not know where it really stands with ENZA.

"ENZA may have convinced the Minister to trust them but the growers don't.

"We need far more export permits issued to ensure that ENZA is forced to compete. We can't trust the present Regulations to deliver the required outcome. The Government must relax the rules.

Peter Young also noted Minister Sutton's own reported media release comment "that competition can only be good for prices and orchardists incomes".

"We agree entirely that creating competition amongst exporters for our fruit will be good for us. But we are just dumbfounded that the Minister stills wants to restrict this competition, despite his own acknowledgement of the benefits of competition.

ENDS

Further information: Peter Young Chairman Grower Survival Group Tel: 06 878 5498 or mobile 025 455 007

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