• John Luxton
Associate Minister of Agriculture

Associate Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Commerce, Hon John Luxton, today said he was very concerned and was seeking an urgent report on the apparent attempt by a group of overseas scientists to ``pirate'' some of New Zealand's horticultural genetic material.

Mr Luxton is today visiting orchardists and others in the horticultural industry in Hawkes Bay.

``This incident is a very real concern. Last year our horticultural industry increased exports by 8% to export nearly $1.6 billion worth of produce. It is a very important industry to our economy.''

``The Government, along with the industry, puts many millions of dollars into research to remain internationally competitive and to build a solid future. Many people are working hard every day on their orchards to continually improve what they do. Research plays a vital part in this. Apparent attempts, such as this, to pirate the fruits of our research labours are very concerning.

Mr Luxton, as Minister of Commerce and Industry is also responsible for intellectual property rights in New Zealand, including Plant Variety Rights (PVR).

``This type of activity is little different to those people who seek to exploit other intellectual property rights, such as computer software or compact discs.

``I have asked officials for a report on this incident, and also on weather we can do anything differently to prevent piracy of our valuable horticultural research efforts,'' Mr Luxton concluded.