NZ: 'Let's bury the hatchet', new T&G CEO tells Zespri

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NZ: 'Let's bury the hatchet', new T&G CEO tells Zespri

New Zealand fruit company Turners & Growers was expected to meet with marketer Zespri today to try and resolve past differences, as new CEO Geoff Hipkins told Radio New Zealand the two could "conquer the world" with more cooperative kiwifruit arrangements.

The move comes after a board reshuffle and new ownership under German company BayWa, and follows a couple of other breakthroughs in peace building between the two parties under the previous management.

In October, Turners withdrew its appeal against Zespri given the 'severe pressures' of vine disease Psa-V, while in February Zespri's CEO Lain Jager indicated to then T&G CEO Jeff Wesley it would be open to an arrangement to export Psa-tolerant Enza Gold.

Yesterday, Hipkins told Radio NZ the legal dispute would be dropped, while also invoking the benefits that Zespri growers would gain from having access to Enza Gold kiwifruit.

"Let's bury the hatchet. History is history, let's wipe the slate," he said.

"We want to look productively and proactively and positively at future relations, so we'll be bringing that to the table tomorrow with Zespri. Hopefully they will bring the same attitude to these discussiosn and we can all go forward and re-establish a vibrant industry.

"Hopefully some of the Zespri growers will say 'yes, I wouldn't mind to grow Enza Gold'. It's proven to be relatively Psa resistant, so why wouldn't they be looking to minimize their risk, particularly if their current production varieties have been wiped out."

He added that Turners & Growers now had the benefit of BayWa's customer relations in Europe, while the business would be willing to cooperate under whatever export arrangement Zespri proposes; whether it would be under the same banner or as seperate entities.

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