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Luxton Approves Kiwifruit Restructuring Plan

Food and Fibre Minister, Hon John Luxton, today announced he had approved a kiwifruit industry restructuring plan that would go to a producer referendum for endorsement.

Mr Luxton said the Kiwifruit Marketing Board was required to submit a restructuring plan to him for approval under the Kiwifruit Industry Restructuring Act 1999. The Act provides for:

* the corporatisation of the commercial assets of the Kiwifruit Marketing Board into a company - Zespri Group Limited; and * shares in Zespri Group Limited to be issued to kiwifruit producers and to be tradable at least among kiwifruit producers.

The Board's restructuring plan provides details on the company constitution for Zespri Group Limited. It also presents a method for allocating shares to producers based on the supply history of the land on which kiwifruit is produced.

"The plan clarifies the ownership of the industry as well as clearly reinforcing Zespri's commercial focus of generating shareholder wealth," Mr Luxton said.

"Kiwifruit New Zealand has gone through a detailed and extensive consultation process with producers in developing their plan."

The restructuring plan will now be put before kiwifruit producers for agreement by way of a referendum. Results of the referendum are expected before Christmas and the required changes will be implemented by 1 April 2000.

"The restructuring plan will enable the kiwifruit industry to reposition itself to respond more effectively to the challenges of the international marketplace in the new millennuim."

"It is the result of a positive working relationship between the board and Government. The industry should be congratulated on its achievements," Mr Luxton concluded.

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