NZPork: Canadian Pork Support ‘Subsidies in Drag’

by 5m Editor
17 August 2009, at 8:21am

NEW ZEALAND - The Canadian government’s $100 million support for their ailing pork industry is essentially subsidies in drag New Zealand Pork said.

"The Canadian government announced its support package over the weekend which will mean cheap subsidised pork will make its way to New Zealand undermining our local industry," said New Zealand Pork Chief Executive Sam McIvor.

"And we’re not talking about small amounts. New Zealand already imports 200,000 kg of Canadian pork a week – pork that can be produced using growth hormones and other standards of production – including animal welfare controls – that are not up to New Zealand standards," said Mr McIvor.

"All that the support package will mean is that more of this imported pork will end up in bacon, ham and small goods in the shops and on the menus in restaurants – with most New Zealand consumers none the wiser," he said.

The key, said Mr McIvor, is in the labelling.

"Consumers have said they want to buy New Zealand grown product so it’s time that retailers and processors clearly identified that product so that consumers can choose."

"New Zealand Pork provides free "100 per cent New Zealand" pork, bacon and ham labels for New Zealand grown products so there’s no excuse," said Mr McIvor.

While consumers are being asked to buy New Zealand grown product, Government also has a role to play.

"We’re being asked to step well beyond the welfare standards in Canada – and other countries –but their products continue to flow in here without challenge. It’s the local producer who’s paying the price for being welfare-minded and using sustainable, hormone free production methods when Canadian producers are not."

"Then there is the potential reduction in biosecurity standards for pork being proposed by Government which should stop simply because of the increase in risk of the introduction of crippling exotic diseases."

Getting behind the local industry, said Mr McIvor, made economic sense too.

"For every $1 paid to a New Zealand pig farmer another $1.97 goes to the local economy. But a dollar of imported pork only contributes another 78 cents to the local economy.

"It is simply a no brainer to support our local industry," said Mr McIvor.