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Kiwifruit Collaboration Arrangements ‘Most Likely Illegal’

Published: Wed 24 Jul 2013 09:20 AM
Kiwifruit Collaboration Arrangements ‘Most Likely Illegal’ In International Markets
Claims by former senior personnel of Turners and Growers that Kiwifruit New Zealand’ s application process for Collaborative Marketing Arrangements (CMA) with Zespri is ‘farcical’ and ‘lacks openness, fairness and integrity’ is further indication that all is not well in the kiwifruit industry, ACT New Zealand Primary Industries Spokesman Robin Grieve said today.
Former Turners and Growers development manager, Murray Malone, and former Managing Director of Turners and Growers, Jeff Wesley, told rural newspaper ‘Straight Furrow’ that New Zealand’s collaborative arrangements could be seen as collusion in the eyes of international trade.
They say, under the CMA process growers are ‘forced to collude with Zespri to fix price and to dominate market position.’ While not illegal in New Zealand, this is ‘most likely illegal in some of the target markets in which the fruit is sold including China’.
“Growers in the kiwifruit industry have faced big challenges over recent times and it is imperative that their financial returns are not compromised by an inefficient and dysfunctional marketing system which has the government’s fingerprints all over it,” Mr Grieve said.
“The government imposed a monopolistic marketing system on the industry and then just walked away, leaving Zespri without proper oversight. Now the problems are piling up.
“Without the option to take their business elsewhere growers are trapped. It is time the government, which denied growers the freedom to sell their produce elsewhere, takes its obligations more seriously.
“ACT has been calling on Minister Nathan Guy to launch an independent inquiry into Zespri since it was convicted in China for smuggling. Yesterday, ACT called for the potential inquiry to include claims by growers that they are subjected to bullying and secrecy by the company.
“The Minister owes it to growers to initiate an inquiry to ensure his regulations are not propping up a marketing system that is costing growers’ money and possibly forcing them to act illegally,” Mr Grieve said.
ENDS

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