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Flower dumping puts Kiwi jobs at risk

Flower dumping puts Kiwi jobs at risk

Millions of cheap roses from India are being potentially dumped on the New Zealand market, threatening the viability of local growers, the New Zealand Flower Growers Association (NZFGA) says.

Just on 3 million Indian roses flooded into New Zealand in 2013, at a landed price of 24 cents a stem, according to NZFGA president, David Blewden.

That figure blew out to 3.3 million stems in 2014 and was complemented by over 300,000 rose imports from Columbia.

“Local Kiwi growers can’t compete with those prices,” Mr Blewden said.

He said that central and regional Indian governments pays large subsidies to domestic growers to produce as much product as possible. The majority of this production is export oriented with a percentage of it coming to New Zealand at very cheap prices.

“It’s certainly detrimental to our local industry and we are investigating whether we can take action under the Dumping and Countervailing Duties Act.”

Mr Blewden said flower growers here also remain extremely concerned about the biosecurity risks associated with imported flowers.

The massive number of rose and flower imports, and the lax biosecurity inspections and treatment offshore where the plant health certificates are generated, mean a major biosecurity breach in New Zealand is nearly inevitable.

He said it’s not only exporters who are at fault. A New Zealand-based importer has also been fined recently for importing cut flowers after deliberating falsifying biosecurity documentation.

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“A biosecurity breach won’t only affect flower growers but it could devastate many sectors of our $2.4 billion horticulture industry, and potentially be detrimental to native flora.”

Mr Blewden says flower growers here want an investigation into the impact on the New Zealand industry of the Indian subsidies, and the creation of a level playing field.

They also want tighter biosecurity controls on flower imports, including more effective and efficient inspections and testing at offshore facilities, to protect New Zealand’s domestic growing industry from new pests and diseases.

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