Horticulture New Zealand supports Prime Minister John Key’s efforts to raise the subject of the Australian supermarkets’ reluctance to stock processed Kiwi produce with his counterpart Tony Abbot today.
“We understand that this policy only applies to the supermarket house-branded products so it is mainly about canned and frozen vegetables.
“And a significant amount of that product may not be sourced from New Zealand anyway, so it is not a snub aimed only at New Zealand,” HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock says.
But, New Zealand growers are obviously very disappointed as Australia is an important market for our industry, worth over $500 million per year
“This is a commercial and political move, Aussie growers have campaigned for this.
“They struggle to compete with us and get significant support from their state and federal governments. This is a pretty desperate measure, not in the spirit of CER and it reduces choice for Australian consumers.”
HortNZ believes this situation highlights how critically important country of origin labelling has become to consumers.
“Australia has mandatory country of origin labelling for food. We do not. The supermarkets are just responding to consumer pressure to buy Australian made. Kiwi shoppers can’t do that, because we are not given the choice.
“HortNZ has always encouraged New Zealanders to support kiwi industries and we would love to see a mandatory country of origin regime established in NZ to help consumers here make informed choices,” Peter says.