26 Oct 2012

Australians dig heels in over NZ potatoes

3:30 pm on 26 October 2012

The fight to get New Zealand potatoes into Australia has intensified, following a high-powered powered Senate inquiry in Canberra.

This week the Senate's rural and regional affairs committee was told that the proposal to allow New Zealand potatoes into Australia is based on outdated science and that the risk of zebra chip disease is simply too high.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has placed strict controls on potato imports.

Some processed product is allowed in, but New Zealand growers want to send fresh potatoes. An AUSVEG national spokesperson, Simon Coburn, says that's something they will fight to stop, until science can prove zebra chip is not a threat to growers.

Potatoes New Zealand business manager Ron Gall says he's not worried about the Australian stance or that New Zealand scientific data is being called into question.

He says the facts speak for themselves and it's only a matter for time before fresh potatoes are heading across the Tasman.