Australian apple growers spent years trying to keep New Zealand apples out of their country on biosecurity grounds.
Now their potato growers are following their example:
AusVeg, the national industry body for vegetable growers, says it’s “dismayed” the federal government has so far failed to block New Zealand potato imports that puts $A1.5 billion ($NZ1.9b) of production at risk from tomato-potato psyllid, “a destructive insect wreaking havoc in New Zealand”.
“The processing sector in New Zealand has stated recently that potato production in the North Island is on a knife’s edge as a result of this pest,” AusVeg spokesman William Churchill said in a statement.
“Why are we willing to roll the dice and play games with our primary industries and food manufacturing sector?”
Who can blame them?
Growers here would try the same tactic if they were worried about imports, whether they were motivated by biosecurity concerns or fear of competition.