INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens Worried About Domestic Dairy Price Rises

Published: Mon 20 Aug 2001 11:50 AM
Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP today said expected domestic dairy price rises came as a warning to look at how prices were being set by export markets, and how little protection there was to keep prices stable for domestic consumers.
"I am concerned about domestic milk prices being set by export commodity prices. International demand may put milk beyond the financial reach of average New Zealander," said Mr Ewen-Street. "The Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill is intended to strengthen our overseas marketing power and to maximise returns to dairy farmers. While these may be admirable aims, they should not be achieved at the expense of the New Zealand consumer," he said.
"With 95 percent of our milk solids being exported and the dairy industry booming, it does not seem unreasonable to tie our domestic milk prices to the Consumer Price Index, rather than export commodity prices.
"I will be seeking to amend the Bill to protect the rights of New Zealand consumers. Consumers do have a right to ask for protection. The level of the New Zealand dollar and international market trends should have no impact on what we pay for milk or dairy products in New Zealand," said Mr Ewen-Street.
"The Bill is intended to maintain competition in the domestic market to keep prices low, but, given the additional costs of advertising and duplication of infrastructure if a single competitor came into the market, the cost of milk may rise anyway.
"We need look no further than the electricity reforms to see that competition does not guarantee lower prices," he said.
Ends

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