7 Jul 2011

Last ditch bid to keep NZ apples out of Australia

12:11 pm on 7 July 2011

The fight to get New Zealand apples into Australia may not be over yet.

The federal opposition there plans to make a last ditch stand to prevent apples from New Zealand being sold in Australian supermarkets. A ban has been in place since 1921.

Last year, following a ruling by the World Trade Organisation, the Australian government was forced to admit it could not stop New Zealand apples being imported.

Two months ago Biosecurity Australia issued a new set of conditions governing importations.

But Opposition agriculture spokesperson John Cobb plans to introduce a private member's bill when Parliament returns from a winter recess.

The bill would amend quarantine legislation and ensure adequate protective measures were put in place to keep New Zealand apples out of Australia.

Mr Cobb told Morning Report that he agrees protocols up until now have been too tough, but he said new ones must be in place before New Zealand apples arrive in Australian supermarkets.

NZ response

But Pipfruit New Zealand says the federal opposition is wasting its time.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says submissions on Biosecurity Australia's revised quarantine protocols on the importation of apples from New Zealand, closed on Wednesday.

He says it's frustrating that after battling apple access to Australia for the past 20 years using scientific methods, the issue is being politicised again at the final hurdle.