KIWIFRUIT TIME FRAME UNREALISTIC SAYS LUXTONAssociate Minister of Agriculture
Associate Minister of Agriculture, Hon John Luxton, today said the reason he had reluctantly declined the corporatisation of the Kiwifruit Market Board at this stage was that the time frames requested were unrealistic.
The Minister's comment follows a media report suggesting that Mr Luxton was against corporatisation.
Mr Luxton said today, "My key concern is to maximise the incomes of kiwifruit growers. I am a keen supporter of corporatising the Board so that growers can capture the benefits of ownership.
"Kiwifruit growers voted for "Stage Three" 3 years ago. The Kiwifruit Marketing Board has only recently come to the Government and asked for regulation and leglislation changes before next season, beginning 1 April 1998. Corporatisation will require a change to legislation which is just not physically possible by this date.
"However, I have agreed to pursue the deregulation requested by the Board of the onshore activities which can be done by regulation and to try and meet the 1 April target. I have agreed to this only on the proviso that the Board accepts the risks of doing this and that they have in place a contingency plan to allow for the real risk that the regulations may not be able to be implemented in the timeframe required. The Board has accepted that there are risks and have agreed to do this.
"I am confident that all involved will make every effort to put the regulations in place in time and I certainly give the changes my support. I look forward to working with the board to make progress for growers, " Mr Luxton concluded.
Contact: Conor English,
04 4719 707, 04 4757203hm
attached Minister's media release of Friday 18 December 1997
LUXTON AGREES TO PARTIAL DEREGULATION OF KIWIFRUIT MARKETING BOARD
Associate Agriculture Minister John Luxton today announced his support for, and agreed to progress, proposed changes to the Kiwifruit Marketing Board's regulations which will allow the restructuring of many of the Board's onshore activities, as already agreed to by the Kiwifruit industry in 1995.
Mr Luxton said today, "My key concern is to maximise the incomes of kiwifruit growers. These changes will put the Board in a better position to do this. This change is in essence a partial deregulation of the current activities of the Board supported by the majority of growers.
"The Board has asked that these changes to the regulations be effective from 1 April 1998, in time for next year's kiwifruit season. However my agreement to proceed with the amendments was subject to the Board recognising that there are major risks to meeting this tight deadline. Risks include problems that may arise during the consultation phase, both within the industry and within government processes, along with the possibility of regulatory review.
"I have advised the Board that I expect them to have in place a contingency plan to allow for the real risk that the regulations may not be able to be implemented in the timeframe required. The Board has agreed to do this.
"However, I am confident that all involved will make every effort to put the regulations in place in time and I certainly give the changes my support. Stage Three of the industry plan was voted on and supported by growers in 1995 but has only just now been requested of government by the Board," Mr Luxton said.
The Board also asked for changes to allow corporatisation of the Board, also a part of the Stage Three changes, in time for the start of the 1998 season. Mr Luxton reluctantly has had to decline this request because the corporatisation stage is a matter requiring further industry consultation and legislative change and could not be completed before the next kiwifruit season.
"Due to the tight timeframe, there was no real possibility of putting this change in place before the 1998 season in an acceptable and robust form." Mr Luxton said.
"It would be sensible to get the onshore operational changes in place before moving on to the question of corporatisation or further deregulation.
"The healthy debate over the future of producer boards will continue. Boards must work towards improving grower returns and eventually allowing alternative marketing arrangements to evolve. This initial move is a progressive step towards increasing returns for growers and therefore has my support. It in effect removes the existing monopoly provision of some of the onshore activities from the Kiwifruit Marketing Board," Mr Luxton concluded.