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Industry Meeting Welcomed

Acting Agriculture Minister Michael Cullen welcomed news that apple export marketer ENZA and apple growers were meeting today to attempt a resolution of a long-running dispute.

Dr Cullen said that both Prime Minister Helen Clark and Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton have said the best solution for this dispute would be for the industry to get together to negotiate a solution.

"The Government's position has always been that its preference is for the commonsense option: That Enza stop deducting the 2002 foreign exchange costs, which many legal opinions say is unlawful; that growers accept the 2001 foreign exchange costs being deducted from this year's returns; and that the two square up their accounts after arbitration and other judicial processes are completed."

Dr Cullen said that ENZA and the growers should be aware that the Government would not step in to bail them out with taxpayers' money.

"Deregulation was no surprise to the apple industry – there had been consultation about this for more than a year."


Ends

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