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Apple Growers Critical Of Greens' Export Policy

Published: Wed 28 Sep 2005 03:43 PM
Greens prepared to risk New Zealand’s primary sector to find favour with Australia
New Zealand apple growers are outraged that Greens co-leader Rod Donald wants to sacrifice New Zealand’s economy to please Australia.
They have called on New Zealand’s entire primary sector to question whether the Greens should be a coalition partner to Labour or National.
They claim it is a case of a New Zealand politician placing the backbone of his country’s economy at risk for the sake of gaining attention in another country.
On a visit to Australia before New Zealand’s election, Mr Donald stated that he was opposed to apple and potato exports to Australia from his homeland “on the basis that they should be consumed locally”.
He also said he wanted to see an end to products crossing the Tasman which can be grown locally, such as dairy foods.
New Zealand grower Phil Alison, who is also spokesperson for the group trying to gain access to export apples to Australia, AAAG, said he was staggered at the naivety of Mr Donald’s suggestion.
New Zealand is a primary producing nation that is dependant on export earnings. “The New Zealand Apple Industry generates about half a billion dollars of export earnings and produces too many apples for local consumption even though we have one of the highest consumption rates of apples in the world,” he said.
“Under the Green’s policy how would New Zealand afford to pay for imported items that it does not grow or manufacture itself.” he said.
“Mr Donald is a senior politician who has been in parliament for a number of years. To come out with this is astounding – particularly when he was in Australia at the time.
“The Greens have never supported our Australian apple access campaign and are now undermining it.
“I find it alarming that the Greens party and their policies maybe associated with a new coalition government of New Zealand.
“We must ask whether the Greens are going to want to promulgate such policies if they are part of the new cabinet.
I fear this could have a devastating impact not only on the New Zealand Apple Access issue, but on New Zealand agriculture exports in general.”
Ends

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