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FFNZ appalled by extension of Trout Moratorium

14 October 2001 PR153/01

FFNZ appalled by extension of Trout Moratorium

Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Alistair Polson is appalled that Government has extended the moratorium prohibiting the importation of trout by three years, less than a month out from the proposed launch of the next WTO round in Doha.

"Cabinet has chosen to ignore the advice of officials that there is no realistic risk to New Zealand's trout fishery from imported trout flesh, said Mr Polson. This same advice suggests New Zealand's stance is a blatant contravention of WTO rules."

"We can only hope that this ill conceived action does not expose New Zealand to retaliatory action from our trading partners."

The Minister of Tourism, Hon Mark Burton has been captured by the self-interest of those 150,000 fly fishermen seeking to maintain trout as a recreation-only species, said Mr Polson. "Other "recreational" species such as salmon, duck, goat meat and venison may be sold legally yet there is no evidence that the recreational aspects of salmon fishing, or deer and duck hunting has been undermined."

"My members do not believe that the icon status of trout will be compromised by allowing the importation of trout. Rather than limiting trout to the tables of those 150,000 fly fishermen that pay compulsory license fees, ordinary New Zealanders and tourists should be able to order trout at restaurants to go with their New Zealand wine.

"The Government has said that moral leadership on the world stage is important on issues such as the Kyoto protocol on Climate Change, said Mr Polson. Yet, they have readily abandoned their principles on free trade for the sake of politically expediency."

"Almost one in five New Zealanders work on farm or in the agricultural processing industry said Mr Polson. Moreover, the current trade figures reinforce the importance of a robust export sector."

"When is this Government going to show some leadership, and stop responding to the self-interested demands of vocal lobby groups with scant regard for the New Zealand economy."

Ends

For more information: Alistair Polson, PH 06 342 2856 or 025 370 085 Susan Redward, PH 385 6585 or 021 498 867

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