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Zespri’s refusal to co-operate - Minister must take charge

Zespri’s refusal to co-operate means the Minister must take charge
Don Nicolson, ACT Primary Industries Spokesperson


“Zespri’s refusal to co-operate with the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) inquiry into the circumstances that led to Zespri’s prosecution for smuggling, as reported by NZKGI to its growers on the 20th December 2013, means the Minister must now act in the interests of NZ kiwifruit growers and finally agree to launch a Ministerial inquiry.” ACT New Zealand Primary Industry Spokesperson Don Nicolson said today

“The Minister has said that he was not going to call a government inquiry while the industry was doing its own inquiry into the China problems, but now that inquiry has come to a halt” Mr Nicolson said.

“New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) being unable to release a full report into the China prosecutions raises even more questions about their independence and ability to deliver much useful oversight, it also raises questions about the suitability of the legislation under which the kiwifruit industry operates.

“Zespri cites the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office as the reason for its refusal to co-operate with NZKGI. This should be raising alarm bells within the Ministry because it could indicate that Zespri does not want to incriminate itself. Why else would it not want full disclosure of the facts?

“ACT has always said that because the government mandates the industry structure it has a responsibility to ensure that the industry always acts with absolute integrity as well as for the best interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. Years of reported industry shenanigans and now Zespri’s refusal to co-operate with the industry and the industry’s inability to hold it to account indicate that Government legislation is working against the industry and the growers not for them.

“With the NZKGI failing to deliver anything meaningful the ball is clearly back in the Minister’s court and he must at last agree to launch an immediate Ministerial inquiry not only into Zespri but the whole Kiwifruit Industry, including the regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand and NZKGI as the recipient of the grower’s levies. With kiwifruit being a major contributor to our economy there is a lot at stake for the growers themselves and the economy, the Government should have acted earlier and demanded better of an industry and the regulations that seem so deficient. Why it doesn’t is of serious concern to ACT.” Mr Nicolson said.


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