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New Zealand: Concerned Growers Collective opposes Zespri vote

An anonymous group called the Concerned Growers Collective is opposing two Zespri resolutions now before growers. The group claims these would cause “irreparable damage” to the industry.

Zespri went on a tour in the past two weeks asking kiwifruit growers to vote in support of two resolutions: 12-month marketing and ownership by Zespri of all plant variety rights (PVRs). The poll will finish on March 15 and is counted in two ways; resolutions generally need 75% support.

The mysterious Concerned Growers Collective has told growers a ‘yes’ vote “will lock in a new strategy for Zespri whereby it earns 85% of its profits from licences that should belong to you and New Zealand, and also allow it to grow and sell kiwifruit from anywhere in the world (other than China and Chile) ahead of yours”.

The group, which was approached by Rural News in vain, claims on its website and in printed material that members are second generation growers who wish to remain anonymous to ensure discussion “is focused on the issues not personalities”.

“Sadly, there is a history in the industry of personalising and characterising issues, which distracts from sensible and informed debate,” the group says in a statement. “While these resolutions are good for Zespri shareholders, there are significant risks to New Zealand kiwifruit growers that have not been considered fully or even debated by the industry.”

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