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NZ Apple Growers not fooled by Australian Talks

Media Statement
July 4 2005

New Zealand Apple Growers not fooled by Australian Talks

New Zealand Apple Growers are warning the New Zealand Government not to be fooled into believing the apple access to Australia will be resolved “soon”.

Australian Apple Action Group spokesman John Bostock said the government is trying to move the Australian apple ban off the election agenda.

“Our Government wants to prevent a repeat of protest action in Wellington that’s planned to take off across the country because it’s damaging them in the polls.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Agricultural Minister Jim Sutton are in Hastings on Friday when growers will be demanding more than speculation that they will get access to Australia “soon”.

This morning Prime Minister Helen Clark stated on breakfast television that Australia would be dealing with the issue this year.

This was following Foreign Minister Phil Goff’s meeting with his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer over the weekend. Mr Goff has claimed that the issue will be dealt with “soon”

Mr Bostock said growers have heard this all before and all the government was trying to do was take the heat out the fight.

“We are not going to be fooled and neither should our Prime Minister by Australia. Don’t think you will win election votes because you are saying soon,” Mr Bostock said.

“There has never been an indication or acknowledgement from Australia that they will fall into line with the World Trade Organisations ruling, and our government is still being told that the decision will be “science based”.

“We have every right to be cynical about assurances from Australia. Last year Australia said it would be based on science and we got no where – it meant nothing,” Mr Bostock said.

The Government should learn from past experience that this will not be resolved until the Australia commit to meaningful access for apples – a deal signed and sealed, he said.

“Governments come and go and apple growers have been left with promises before – we have long memories”.


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