High Court to consider legal suit against Zespri
The High Court says it will hold an initial three-day hearing from July 20 on claims by Turners and Growers, a GPG subsidiary which is trying to break the export monopoly Zespri International has on New Zealand kiwifruit sold outside Australasia.Zespri ha
The High Court says it will hold an initial three-day hearing from July 20 on claims by Turners and Growers, a GPG subsidiary which is trying to break the export monopoly Zespri International has on New Zealand kiwifruit sold outside Australasia.
Zespri has successfully sought to have a split trial, with the court initially determining two questions of law.
They are the validity of kiwifruit export regulations giving Zespri a monopoly and whether the High Court has jurisdiction to determine whether Zespri has discriminated or failed to allow diversification under the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999.
Other issues on which Turners and Growers is seeking judicial declarations will be heard in a further hearing, likely to be early next year.
In July last year, Turners and Growers Ltd and its Turners and Growers Horticulture Ltd and ENZA Ltd filed proceedings in the High Court at Auckland against Zespri Group Ltd and its subsidiary Zespri International Ltd.
They also alleged Zespri had abused its dominant position for the purpose of preserving its monopoly, including by trying to take control of the supply of kiwifruit for export to Australia in the 2008/2009 season; and attempting to take control of new kiwifruit cultivars.
They claimed Zespri had unlawfully carried on non-core businesses and activities without obtaining the approval of shareholders and suppliers, in breach of regulation 11 of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated and the Attorney-General have been granted leave to intervene in the case.
NZKGI supports Zespri, and the Attorney-General has called for early determination of the key issues on public interest grounds.
Turners and Growers has previously broken the control of the former formerly the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board and in January 2003 took over the grower company Enza.
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.