Eggs-asperated over imports

Friday May 04, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Been having trouble finding any eggs these last few days? Little wonder.

 

Not so long ago Scotts Farm used to supply CITC, Foodland, Meatco (now Prime Foods), most of the smaller shops, restaurants, cafes and takeaways and some in the outer islands. Now we are reduced to supplying just a few loyal outlets because this CIP government’s quite unnecessary promotion of imports – aided, abetted and encouraged by big business – is successfully killing what we had built up over 30 years.

Oddly, in 2012 parliament passed legislation to provide a mechanism to arrest any practice seriously endangering a local industry and we mistakenly thought government was coming to its senses. We were wrong.

Of course we did all the right things and sought that protection. It was ignored.

We filed follow-ups. They were likewise ignored.

Imports increased and we started closing down sheds in full production as there was no market for surplus eggs and our previous outlets, the main stores, were refusing to take them – although one expected us to carry stock as backup for them just to cover situations like that at present.

Whilst espousing import substitution, GO LOCAL, and other misleading slogans, the CIP was hypocritically creating the environment which would allow the systematic dismantling of what was once a flourishing local industry by enabling unrestricted importation of New Zealand and Fiji eggs.

Customers were entitled to a choice, the government argued. Cheaper prices, they argued. It was nothing of the kind of course.

In fact, imported eggs, when not engaging in predatory pricing, were more expensive – except when, most offensively (and probably criminally), either through Biodiversity and Public Health giving tacit agreement to an abuse of their own standards, or a flagrant abuse of those standards, one importer was able to quietly quit dated eggs at $20 a carton or $1.33 a dozen.

Imagine then those same dated eggs, probably being on-sold at regular prices, cooking at 30 degrees Celsius on shop counters in Rarotonga – or even worse, shipped to unsuspecting outer islands customers.

It would seem government, and its commercial partners, will allow or pursue any practice which assists in the demise of local endeavour.

This is just one isolated example of why we need a Commerce Act, and why the main players block that from happening.

And it is this same CIP government that has done the same thing to the local pork manufacturing industry.

And they want to be re-elected?

                Heaven forbid! 

                John M Scott

                Scotts Farm, Since 1983

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