Labour's pipfruit proposals a "sick joke"

Friday 21 October 2011, 6:28PM
By ACT New Zealand

Labour’s proposal to bring 'cohesiveness' to the pipfruit industry is obviously a sick joke, ACT New Zealand Horticultural Spokesman John Thompson said today.

“The pipfruit industry works cohesively and in unity when dealing with hard to access markets such as Taiwan, USA and China without the need for regulations. To suggest otherwise is completely disingenuous,” Mr Thompson said.

“I expect when Damien O’Connor is talking about cohesiveness he is referring to the vote that turned down the proposed move of making apple exports to Australia come under the HEA umbrella, but that is democracy in action.

“Exporters who work under HEA in other product groups and have experience in exporting knew the shortcomings of the HEA option and voted from that experience.

There are some growers who are unhappy with the returns from this year’s crop but that is a result of a crisis of demand in Europe for high acid varieties. This is a varietal problem evident in just one market. Growers should not be looking to Government for assistance; rather they should be looking at the choices they have made in regard to exporters and varietal mix on their orchards.

“What the apple industry requires is a quicker transformation to redder and sweeter apples suitable for the Asian and Middle Eastern markets - and less reliance in the traditional markets.

"Growers will be able to work this out and adapt to market signals without the 'help' of well-meaning but out of touch Labour MPs", Mr Thompson said.