24 May 2002

Cooks Islands pig farmers oppose government plans to remove import duties

4:28 am on 24 May 2002

The Cook Islands opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, says pig farmers are threatening to emigrate if the government removes import levies on pork products.

He says pig farmers will meet tomorrow (FRI) because they oppose government plans to remove the tariffs.

The prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, promised an across the board removal of import levies as part of his government's economic reforms.

Dr Maoate says the policy will damage the Cooks' pig industry and bankrupt many farmers.

"There's a lot of these pig farmers who are going to be involved if the levies are removed which means they can't compete with imported pork. Because a lot of these farmers are small backyard farmers, some of them are saying they might as well pack up and come over to New Zealand, that sort of thing."

Dr Terepai Maoate