Nelson MP Nick Smith is astonished that ENZA Chairman Tony Gibbs has criticised National for considering legislation to
resolve the ENZA dispute on the basis of private property rights.
"Only a week ago ENZA wanted Parliament to pass a levy onto all apple growers to fund ENZA's debts. This was an
outrageous proposal that would have cost independent growers millions of dollars when they are neither shareholders nor
suppliers of ENZA.
"As a last resort, National proposed legislation to ensure clarity that the company meet its liabilities and not abuse
its position by just taking the money out of growers accounts. If ENZA had behaved as a responsible corporate,
legislation would never have had to be considered.
"The 1999 legislation is absolutely plain that the company takes both the assets and the liabilities of the former Apple
and Pear Marketing Board. It has only been slick PR and ENZA's powerful position as controller of the cashflow that has
enabled it to try and take the money from growers.
"Mr Gibbs has also argued strongly against deregulation and wants Parliament to maintain ENZA's near monopoly. If
anybody is in the financial dark ages it is Mr Gibbs.
"ENZA needs to recognise the winds of change, accept the liabilities it bought with the company's assets and start
treating its grower suppliers with respect. ENZA has two weeks to resolve this issue or National will propose
legislative amendments to take it beyond doubt," Dr Smith said.