Australian industry outraged over NZ apple draft approval

Top Stories
Australian industry outraged over NZ apple draft approval

Australia's apple industry has criticized the country's biosecurity body for a draft report allowing New Zealand apple imports without additional quarantine measures, AAP reported.

Biosecurity Australia (BA) has deemed New Zealand's export standards as sufficient to prevent the spread of pests like apple leaf curling midge and fire blight, the story reported.

"The draft report concludes that the well established commercial practices used by New Zealand apple producers address the quarantine concerns posed by fire blight, European canker and apple leaf curling midge," said BA in a release.

"The draft report recommends that export quality fruit produced using New Zealand’s standard commercial practices be permitted access to Australia, subject to verification that standard orchard and packing house practices have been followed.

"The draft report is being issued for 60 days consultation. Comments and submissions are invited by 4 July 2011."

Apple and Pear Australia chairman Darral Ashton told AAP the 'disgraceful' move set a precedent for imports from other countries.

He said once the final determination was made on August 17 arrivals could come within weeks, but he hoped a Senate committee visit to New Zealand in June would lead to stricter quarantine measures, AAP reported.

Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb released a statement calling for Australia's Minister for Agriculture, Fishing and Foresty Joe Ludwig to be sacked.

"Minister Ludwig has sold out agriculture and has all but endorsed the draft recommendations of Biosecurity Australia," the statement said.

"There is not one specific thing here New Zealand farmers have to do to prevent fire blight coming to Australia."

NZ crop estimates fall

Across the Tasman Sea, Pipfruit New Zealand has announced its apple and pear crop will be significantly lower than previous estimates of 17.8 million cases.

The industry body said demand for Southern Hemisphere fruit had been solid this season, with reasonably early prices and demand in many Asian markets.

"Unique New Zealand varieties such as Pacific Queen and Pacific Rose are proving very popular with many consumers in markets such as China, India and Malaysia," said Pipfruit NZ chief executive Peter Beaven.

New Zealand's Cox Orange and Royal Gala varieties have fetched slightly better prices in Europe compared to 2010, while Braeburn crops will also be short of earlier estimates.

"Our assessment is that this year’s Braeburn crop will struggle to get past last year’s volume of 70,000 tonnes," said Beaven.

"This would make it the equal smallest crop in the past 10 years."

Related stories: Drastic cuts expected for NZ Braeburn apples

Australian PM announces apple war ceasefire with NZ

WTO rejects Australia's appeal of New Zealand apple ruling


Subscribe to our newsletter