The country's biggest apple exporter, ENZA, is ready to ship its first New Zealand-grown apples to Australia now that the way has been cleared for the trade to begin.
Biosecurity Australia has issued its final Import Risk Analysis for New Zealand apples, and the two countries have agreed on a compliance programme.
ENZA general manager Snow Hardy says it has apples available that have been cleared for shipment to Australia, and will be sending several containers of its Jazz variety there in the next month or so.
He says the variety is already established in Australia where it's been grown under licence for a number of years.
Mr Hardy says ENZA will be restricting its New Zealand shipments this year, so it doesn't disrupt the local trade.
He says ENZA has established good relationships with growers and customers in Australia over a number of years.
ENZA handles about 30% of New Zealand's apple exports.
Australian opposition continues
Apple and Pear Australia, which represents the interests of growers there, says the measures Biosecurity Australia has included in its risk import analysis are horrendously weak.
Chairman John Lawrenson has accused the organisation of abandoning Australian apple and pear growers.
An Australian opposition private member's bill to give parliamentarians a veto over apple import permits will be introduced on Monday.
Pipfruit New Zealand's chief executive Peter Beaven says Australian interests could also try to challenge the import permits in court, but thinks there's little chance such measures will succeed.