Kiwifruit company, Zespri has suffered a blow to its trading reputation with its China subsidiary, Zespri Management Consulting Company losing its appeal against a charge of smuggling by a Shanghai court. An employee of the company was found guilty in March of smuggling and sentenced to five years in prison, with the company complicit in the case.
Air New Zealand’s decision not to allow its service staff to wear visible ta moko raises a very important question for us all; what exactly does Brand New Zealand mean? And if it does have a meaning, can we improve it or protect it, and who should be in charge of it?
Kiwifruit growers, pack house operators and various sundry participants in the kiwifruit industry have written letters to various influential people over the future of kiwifruit marketer, Zespri. Some have offered their support, while others have called for Zespri’s exclusive role to be terminated.
Kiwifruit trader, Zespri International has announced a 63% plunge in profits as a direct consequence of the Psa-v infection of New Zealand orchards, and its questionable trade activities in China.
Zespri has been accused by kiwifruit farmers of keeping its problems with fraud in China secret. In spite of being informed by Customs in February 2011 that China was investigating the company for double invoicing and faced heavy fines, growers were not fully informed of the case until January 2013.
Horticulture New Zealand has announced its intention to investigate charges that Zespri has been double invoicing shipments to China to avoid paying excise to the Chinese government. The announcement follows revelations in New Zealand media that Zespri was aware that its double invoicing policy was of doubtful legality in China.
Whatever the real cause, New Zealand meat shipments to China continue to be stalled at the wharf while bureaucrats wrangle over purported documentation issues. Opposition politicians in New Zealand are blaming poor administration by the Ministry of Primary Industries, while the Ministers responsible claim it is merely a glitch.
The Chinese national convicted of tax fraud and smuggling of New Zealand brown kiwifruit in China is appealing his conviction, claiming Zespri are the real culprits.
The results of the PSAv infection of New Zealand’s kiwifruit orchards hit home this week with the announcement that exports of gold kiwifruit will be down 57% (17 million trays) this year. The long term impact is greater however, with plans by Zespri to double the volume of kiwifruit exports and treble export returns by 2025 now sunk.
The new, co-operative relationship between Turners & Growers and Zespri was formally consummated this week when T&G decided not to proceed with its appeal against a High Court ruling in favour of Zespri. The appeal was set down to proceed yesterday (May 2).
The incidence of contamination of organic kiwifruit crops through use of Citrox BioAlexin could increase as not all possible orchard users have yet been surveyed, according to Zespri. The company’s general manager of science and innovation, Dave Tanner says that less than half those who have used the spray have been affected and, with some still to submit their spray logs, he expects more cases to emerge.
In spite of the extreme economic difficulties being faced by hundreds of kiwifruit growers, exporter Zespri is being positive about prospects for the coming season. Chief executive, Lain Jager has told the Bay of Plenty Times the company expects an export crop of 85 million trays this year, after a growing season that has been, “… a great platform for us to commercialise the products on.”