Minister Cannot Ignore Calls For An Inquiry Into Zespri
Minister Can No Longer Ignore Calls For An Inquiry Into Zespri
Press Release by Associate Primary Industries
Spokesman Robin Grieve
Monday, July 22 2013
Primary industries Minister Nathan Guy cannot continue to ignore the damning claims of bullying, secrecy and unacceptable behaviour from concerned growers who are forced by the Government to supply their produce to monopoly exporter Zespri, ACT New Zealand Associate Primary industries Spokesman Robin Grieve said today.
“ACT has been calling on the Government to initiate an independent inquiry into Zespri’s activities after it was convicted of smuggling in China. ACT now wants the inquiry broadened to look into concerns expressed by growers about the lack of transparency and intimidation by Zespri,” Mr Grieve said.
“A One News story over the weekend revealed the growing discontent among growers concerned with Zespri’s behaviour. A number of growers were too afraid to appear on camera but told One News they are so appalled with Zespri’s conduct they would no longer deal with Zespri if they had the choice.
“Zespri Board candidate, Tom Wilson, confirmed their claims saying people are ‘reluctant to stand up and voice their genuine concerns’ as the ‘Zespri PR network can destroy people’. He says Zespri’s culture is arrogant, self-serving and needs to change.
“ACT opposes monopolies - especially government mandated ones - because they generally become bloated, inefficient, and lazy. ACT believes it is Zespri’s monopoly status and lack of proper oversight that has caused the current problems. They are a monopoly out of control.
"It’s time for the Minister to listen and take action by launching an independent inquiry.
“The inquiry currently being undertaken by New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated is not independent and therefore the validity of any findings is compromised.
“Growers need an assurance that they are doing business with a reputable company. At the moment there is no way they can find out. Growers who question Zespri appear to be stonewalled and faced with intimidation if they speak out.
“The Government is responsible for how the kiwifruit industry is set up. It is the Government’s responsibility to get to the bottom of this issue,” Mr Grieve said.