Fifty Kiwi businesses are staring disaster in the face thanks to the Government’s incompetence in handling issues around infant formula exports, says New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“Some of these companies may go out of business, with people losing their livelihood as China imposes new rules on Kiwi exporters from tomorrow, May 1.
“The Government has bumbled along since the botulism scare instead of being on top of the game by liaising with Chinese officials and making sure New Zealand companies were well prepared in advance to comply with any Chinese government changes.
“Government ministers have taken an amateurish approach which will cripple many companies reliant on contracting out the manufacturing of their product.
“It appears businesses the government terms ‘smaller players’ will bear the brunt of the changes, and face months being locked out of exporting as they try and work through the requirements,” says Mr Peters.
China will now require companies to have “clear control” over the manufacturing process for infant formula and the product formulation.
“Why did the New Zealand Government not have a clear fix on these requirements?
“Some exporters say they are unsure what the Chinese mean by “’clear control’ – this is where the Government should have sourced the information and advised the companies.
“A New Zealand Government should not be failing its exporters when the country has such a reliance on its exporting base.
“Minister for Food Safety Nikki Kaye and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy have a lot of explaining to do. They have been asleep at the wheel when anyone could have predicted, after the infant formula scares, that China would be seeking answers and coming up with tighter regulations.
“Claiming that these changes preceded the botulism scare, and therefore have nothing to do with our government’s inertia, simply won’t wash,” says Mr Peters.