Luxton On ApplesFood, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control
Minister for Food, Fibre Biosecurity and Border Control, Hon John Luxton, today said today's announcement by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) not to allow imports of New Zealand apples was unacceptable and simply does not make sense.
"My initial reaction is that this is an unacceptable announcement. Once again Australian families are denied access to some of the world's best apples.
"This just does not make sense.
"Based on scientific evidence, I am not prepared to accept the assertion that New Zealand apples pose a risk to Australia.
"The scientific evidence suggests that the chance of New Zealand apple exports causing an out break of fireblight in Australia to be less than one in every 10,000 years.
"I guess this isn't zero, but if all countries were to run their phytosanitary operations in this way no trade would take place. Trade in such things as oranges, tomatoes, bananas or potatoes for example would be banned. We have to manage risk,"Mr Luxton concluded.
Officials will now study the decision in order for Trade Minister Lockwood Smith to respond formally when he meets his Australian counterpart, Tim Fischer in Wellington next week.