KNZ knocks back collaborative marketing proposals
New Zealand's kiwifruit export regulator has again turned down collaborative marketing requests from two Seeka Kiwifruit Industries and Splice Fruit, reiterating its reasons after it was urged to give further consideration by the High Court.
In a statement, Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) said it had carefully considered the High Court's judgement issued on May 3, and welcomed its clarification of the test KNZ should apply when considering collaborative marketing applications.
KNZ put particular emphasis on the following observation in the High Court decision:
"If a proposal did not involve any collaboration, then it would not be a collaborative marketing arrangement of the type envisaged by the Regulations … If the application were not to allow for any collaboration with Zespri it could not be considered by the Board."
KNZ said it particularly welcomed the judge’s comments that it is an industry expert body, well placed to decide what factors it should consider, and the weight it should give to each factor when considering an application.
"The judgment confirmed that the decision to remove the right of appeal for the 2016 season was a lawful and valid decision, and it is up to KNZ whether or not it has an appeal or review process for the 2017 season," KNZ said.
"In these particular cases the Judge provided direction on the approach to be taken to the issue of collaboration, and he found that the applicants had a legitimate expectation of a second stage review process arising from the disclosure information published by KNZ for the 2016 season.
"KNZ has carefully gone through all that material and has decided that the applications did not achieve the purpose of increasing the overall wealth of New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers, and therefore all three applications were declined."
In a statement, kiwifruit marketer Zespri said it continued to support the role collaborative marketing played in providing additional value to the country's growers, but emphasized the importance of consistency in markets.
"We do not support programmes which run the risk of oversupplying or ‘leaking’ into key markets, disrupting our distribution plans or creating discrepancies around NZ kiwifruit from a customs or food safety perspective," the company said.
"In particular, proposals around offshore packing require an industry-wide approach to ensure this increases overall wealth for all NZ growers."
Zespri also highlighted a recently-approved three-year proactive collaborative marketing initiative with Turners & Growers to sell one million trays of Zespri-branded kiwifruit in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos this year.
"We also supported applications from another 11 companies which operate 23 sales programmes selling a further 2 million trays around the world in the 2016 season, approved by KNZ."
Speaking with Stuff.co.nz, Seeka chief executive Michael Franks described this Friday as a "black day for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry".
"We believe the applications genuinely added value to all growers and sales growth, especially in a year where we've been told there is an oversupply and lack of demand," Franks was quoted as saying.
KNZ's full statement can be found here.