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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Mr Ward d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -

1.   Has the Government given consideration to the question of removing the embargo on the importation of New Zealand potatoes in order to render some protection to Australian consumers against exploitation?

2.   If so, what decision has been arrived at?

3.   If no consideration has yet been given to this important and urgent question, will he take immediate steps to bring the matter before Cabinet for determination ?

4.   Does he still hold the views whichhe expressed at a recently held protest meeting in the Sydney Town Hall, and what action does he propose to take to prevent any further exploitation of the Australian consumers of. potatoes ?

Sir Frederick Stewart - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1, 2 and 3. On the 9th March, 1939, the Government gave permission for the importation of New Zealand potatoes at the rate of 250 tons a week for four weeks, commencing the 20th March, 1939.

Owing to the difficulty of securing supplies suitable for shipment, the New Zealand Internal Marketing Department made only one experimental shipment of one and a half tons under this approval.

Subsequently, on the 17th April, 1939, the mutter was again considered by the Government when it was decided to extend themodification of the embargo to permit of the original amount of 1,000 tons to be imported and marketed in limited quantities weekly up to the 31st May, 1939.

4.   This question is not relevant to an answer on behalf of the Minister for Commerce.

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