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NZ apple growers furious over IRA scrapping proposal.

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Friday, 01/10/2004


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NZ apple growers furious over IRA scrapping proposal  

New Zealand apple growers are furious at the apparent scrapping of a proposal to allow their fruit into Australia. 


Yesterday the Coalition said if re-elected, it would reconsider a number of
controversial risk analyses , for imports including New Zealand apples, chickenmeat from Asia and bananas from the Philippines. 


Phil Alison from Pipfruit New Zealand says the industry is considering taking the issue to the World Trade Organisation. 


"Nothing would be ruled out.  


"I mean, I'm furious in that we have spent a vast fortune of money at this over the last 15 years; and to just keep throwing money, and pots of it, at this, and to be defeated at the process - not the substance - just makes a mockery of it all.  


"And certainly our growers will crack the whip on us to do something different."  


But Australian apple growers say it's the
right decision , because the draft import risk analysis was scientifically flawed. 


Chairman of Apple and Pear Australia
Darral Ashton says the push to open up trade between countries had taken precedence over quarantine issues. 


And he says growers have made the most of the
election campaign to push their case. 


"You only get one election every now and then, and we make no apologies.  


"We've been talking feverishly to all members of parliament and candidates, to gain their point of view on the whole process, and it's amazing that everyone's been pretty supportive, particularly in the last couple of weeks!" 


Trade Minister
Mark Vaile is confident the decision will hold up against any challenge before the World Trade Organisation. 


Launching his party's trade policy this morning, he said the Coalition's decision would be based on
science , not politics. 


"We are happy to defend our decision in the courts of the WTO on these issues.  


"We are currently there defending a number of cases on quarantine matters.  


"Our track record, when we've been out to defend our decisions, has been quite good. 


"That's what we all belong to the WTO for; so that there is an umpire if there's a grievance about a decision that's been made.  


"We're happy to go and defend our decisions."  


As part of the Coalition's policy for re-election, Mr Vaile announced
$30 million extra, for grants to develop export markets.

This is a transcript from the ABC National Rural News that is broadcast daily to all states on ABC Regional Radio's Country Hour and in the city on ABC News Radio .

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