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After Seven Years, why play fair?

Media Statement 6 December 2005

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated

After Seven Years, why play fair?

Pipfruit NZ Chairman Ian Palmer, on his return from a conference in Santiago today added his voice to those expressing dismay at the Import Risk Analysis (IRA) draft received from Biosecurity Australia last Thursday night.

“Now we have had the opportunity to study the report in a little more depth, it underlines for us the how badly flawed their IRA process is,” Mr Palmer said today. “How could they exclude us from Western Australia on the basis of blackspot in the same week the Western Australian Government admits they are dealing with a blackspot outbreak?”

Mr Palmer said the NZ industry has waited patiently for seven years in the expectation that objective science would deliver meaningful access. “Instead we find the whole process has been rorted, both the mathematical modelling process they use and the fact they have two growers on their Risk Assessment Team. It’s nothing but a kangaroo Court.”

“They have completely ignored the WTO decision from earlier this year that concluded chlorine dipping in apple water dumps and orchard inspections are not needed or justified.”

The WTO ruled earlier this year in the third of three separate cases between the US and Japan that mature apples cannot transmit fireblight. Therefore no mitigating protocols can be justified. “The Australians seem to be claiming some special status because they are an island state,” Mr Palmer said. “They forget that Japan is too. The same science must apply to both situations.”

“Our Industry has always been willing to work with the Australians to grow the consumption of apples and offer the Australian consumer a better product,” Mr Palmer said. “But they are only interested in protectionism. Well, I can now say – the gloves are off. We will not give up on correcting what is clearly a non-tariff trade barrier and if it means having to embarrass them on the world stage, then so be it,” Mr Palmer said.

Pipfruit NZ will soon meet with Government officials and scientists to consider their formal response to Biosecurity Australia.


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