Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture)
: I move,
That the Wine Bill be now read a second time. The purposes of the bill have always been quite straightforward. They are to have legislation that protects the interests of consumers and the reputation of New Zealand wine. At the same time the legislation has to be sufficiently robust and enforceable to protect producers from the protectionist technical barriers that are a reality of life in the international trading environment of the 21st century.
The Wine Bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee on 17 October last year. Since then the committee has undertaken a great deal of work on the bill. In response to the urgent need to enhance our regulatory export regime, the committee divided Part 5 out of the bill and reported it back as the Wine Makers Amendment Bill in early December last year. That bill was enacted in March this year. It was aimed at maintaining access to overseas markets, particularly the European Union, in the period leading up to the passage and commencement of this legislation. Once the committee had divided out Part 5, it sought submissions on the remainder of the bill. Submissions were received from last December through to May this year.
Many submissions reflected an old mindset toward the regulation of the making and exporting of wine. They concentrated on seeking to reduce compliance costs and minimise regulatory powers. The committee had the difficult task of reconciling the industry’s need for a legally enforceable regime, primarily around standards and exports, with submitters’ requests for a narrow regulatory regime. Submissions focused on five key issues, those being the definition of “wine”, limiting the types of standards that can be set under the bill, the simplification of wine standards management plans, the removal of compliance orders, and improving the consultation requirements.
Submitters sought clarification of the definitions of wines in the bill. In particular, they sought definitions that are consistent with the definitions of the types of wine in the New Zealand food standards. That makes sense, as does providing a means of updating those definitions to maintain consistency with the definitions in the food standards. I support the committee’s recommendation to insert new definitions and an ability to change them by Order in Council, to reflect any changes in the definitions in the New Zealand food standards.
Winemakers were concerned that the bill appeared to allow a whole raft of wine standards to be set. That is not what was intended. Instead, it was intended to enable some wine standards to cross-reference relevant food standards, so as to create a single regime for both wine standards and relevant food standards. The committee proposed a clearer means of achieving the outcome of a single regime for wine standards and relevant food standards. It recommends two key amendments to the bill. The first is to amend clause 14(2)(e)(i) to clearly and directly reference New Zealand food standards. That has the effect of making wine standards management plans, which are the key compliance regime within the bill, also about compliance with the relevant food standards. The second amendment is consequential. It removes clause 33(2)(a) to (i), which effectively repeats the scope of the New Zealand food standards.
The third key issue, simplification of the wine standards management plans, arose from winemakers thinking that their wine standards management plans would be markedly different from each others and would need to be highly complex, which would therefore increase the compliance costs. These plans are the key compliance regime for wine standards, relevant food standards, and relevant export requirements. I want to allay that concern. Wine standards management plans are expected to be comparatively simple documents. The industry should be able to develop templates, as provided for in the bill, which would allow individual wineries to apply the templates to their businesses. The committee has taken that on board, and has recommended no amendments in respect of wine standards management plans beyond technical amendments and the amendment to clause 14(2)(e)(i), which I referred to earlier. I support that decision.
The fourth key issue was the removal of the clauses relating to compliance orders. Submitters sought to remove those clauses as they saw them as bureaucratic and unnecessary, given the other enforcement powers in the bill. However, those other powers are significantly more severe than compliance orders. They include prosecutions, suspension of winemaking operations, and deregistration of wine standards management plans. As the bill requires all winemakers to have a registered wine standards management plan, deregistration would preclude the winemaker from being able to make wine legally for sale in New Zealand, which would clearly be a disastrous state of affairs. The industry sought strict enforcement, not the safer approach that compliance orders would give. Compliance orders are a useful enforcement tool, but removing them would not undermine the integrity of the bill. I therefore accept the committee’s recommendation that the clauses providing for, and relating to, compliance orders be removed from the bill.
Finally, submitters sought amendments to the bill to highlight and extend the nature of consultation under the bill. Submitters saw strengthened consultation requirements as a solution to their concerns about the nature and extent of the regulations and director-general’s notices that could be issued under the legislation. Submitters sought three key amendments in that respect: first, a new objective recognising consultation as an aid to fostering the efficiency and growth of the industry; second, an application of the consultation requirements in clause 128 to the making of all regulations under the bill; and third, the insertion of a principle of consultation at the front of the bill, or, alternatively, a shifting of clause 128 to the front of the bill. The committee has recommended amending the bill in respect of the first two of those proposals, and is against inserting a new principle-of-consultation clause or shifting clause 128. I agree with that view. Making the promotion of consultation with the industry on regulation of the industry an objective of the bill is a key amendment proposed by the committee. It highlights the need for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to work with the wine industry to achieve a successful win-win outcome for both the Government and the industry.
I would like to thank the Primary Production Committee for considering this bill so thoroughly, and for reporting it back on Tuesday, 19 August with amendments that both improve and clarify the bill. I commend this bill to the House.
Hon DAVID CARTER (National)
: Yes, I think that by the time the bill finally came back to the House it was a win-win for all concerned, but I do not think the Minister of Agriculture can take any credit for that. A huge amount of hard work was done by officials, the Wine Institute of New Zealand—and I will refer to that shortly—and the members of the Primary Production Committee, who tidied up what was an ill-prepared bill at the time it was given to the select committee.
I want to pay tribute to the New Zealand wine industry. We heard during submissions that the industry currently exports about $250 million of wine, and that figure is predicted to nearly triple over the next few years. I think all New Zealanders take pride in the reputation that our wine has achieved right around the globe. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to this industry, which is earning a lot of export dollars for our country, and is doing so because the people involved are entrepreneurial. They just want to get on with it.
The evidence before the select committee showed me how diverse this industry is. Yes, there are one or two quite large players in the industry, but most of the people involved in it are relatively small operators of boutique wineries who “eager out” markets for themselves, both here and overseas—
Rodney Hide: And it all tastes great.
Hon DAVID CARTER: Well, no. I think we had evidence before us—not enough, I might add—that some wines taste excellent and some will improve with age. I think that is the politest way one can say it. Anyway, I do not want to be diverted, because this bill is very serious legislation, and if we move quickly through it tonight, there might be a chance to enjoy some New Zealand product before the end of it.
The point I want to make about the diversity of the industry is that it operates in a tough environment, and these people do not want to be stressed by a whole lot of additional costs in compliance. I guess the submitters, in total, were saying to us that the bill as presented to the select committee was a complete overreaction. It was a bureaucratic nightmare, which resulted in the number of submitters totalling 115, and I do not recall any who were supportive of the legislation as it was referred to the select committee.
I have to say the timing of the calling of submissions could not have been worse, because there was huge anti-Government feeling and a lack of trust on the part of the industry. At the same time that we were receiving those submissions, Mr Anderton had convinced his—
Rodney Hide: Oh, he’s an idiot.
Hon DAVID CARTER: I could not possibly comment. Mr Anderton had convinced Mr Sutton that it was time to impose a sneaky little excise tax totalling $18 million. It was in that environment that we had to deal with 115 submitters who were angry with the Government. They were angry quite justifiably—Mr Sutton is nodding his head; he regrets that move—and they were angry for two reasons. The No. 1 reason was that Mr Anderton had only just written a letter to the industry saying there would be no more sneaky taxes, and promising to consult. Darren Hughes is hanging his head in shame because he knows how honest Mr Anderton is; he has to work with him. But, sadly, the industry briefly trusted Mr Anderton, who had signed that letter. I doubt whether that will happen again.
The second point I want to make is that the tax the Government imposed was on beverages of 14 to 23 percent alcohol in content—namely, ports and sherries.
Darren Hughes: It’s a bit like your poll rating.
Hon DAVID CARTER: I challenge Mr Hughes as the young baby of the House to listen to this. Mr Hughes stood in the House and said that the Government needed to do that because young people were drinking sherry and port. I say to Mr Hughes that he should get out there, go down to Courtenay Place with Winston Peters, and have a look. The young people are not drinking sherry and they are not drinking port. There was no need for that tax to be passed. That was the climate created by the Government, and the problem handled by the select committee as we beavered away to tidy up Mr Sutton’s mess.
The bill was certainly overkill when we first saw it. The difficulty we had was that the officials who came before us said they had consulted the industry and the bill had widespread support. Well, if it had widespread support, why did we have so many angry winemakers come before us? We scratched our heads for a while thinking about the best way round it. I will not say the answer was the chairman’s idea, but I guess it probably was. We came up with—
Darren Hughes: Who is the chairman of that committee?
Hon DAVID CARTER: Darren Hughes can take a call and he can let the House know who the chairman is. We came up with the brilliant idea of saying we needed some help from the industry, and we appointed Mr Philip Gregan of New Zealand Winegrowers, previously known as the Wine Institute, to come along as a special adviser and work closely and collegially with the officials to see whether we could find a way through the mess that Mr Sutton had handed to us. We should not have had to do that. That work should have been done before the bill was ever presented to us. But I have to say that, because of the way the process then worked, we are now presenting legislation back to the House that is hugely more acceptable to the industry than it was. We were able to iron out some of the wrinkles. We were able to achieve what I think the industry will find is far better legislation with which to operate.
I implore the Minister, if he is working with an industry such as this again, to take some time to listen. We have just had the debacle about the flatulence tax, where the Minister blindly called farmers whingers and moaners, then half-heartedly had to back down. But there is never an apology from that Minister to say he got it wrong. In the case of the Wine Bill, there is absolutely no doubt that he got it wrong.
Mr Sutton referred to the changes we made, and I will talk quite specifically to those as we work through the Committee stage later on.
The point I want to talk about is that Mr Sutton made a comment regarding the changes to the compliance orders, and the fact we have now imposed a far more drastic regime on the industry. I think Mr Sutton needs that to be explained to him. The solution to a bad operation is now more drastic than it was because that is what the industry wanted. The industry told us that it did not want some mealy-mouthed, bureaucratic regime—[Interruption] Sorry, Mr Sutton? No, his interjection has run out of steam already. The industry did not want some mealy-mouthed, bureaucratic process by which a bad operator could continue to damage the industry. The industry said that if a guy operating in the wine industry was not operating professionally and safely, then the industry wanted that person out of the game altogether. The committee supported that argument, because we do not want anything done within the industry to damage the hard work that has gone into creating this now very significant export industry.
I conclude by paying tribute to Mr Philip Gregan for the work he did.
Phil Heatley: Phil Heatley.
Hon DAVID CARTER: No, Phil Heatley can take his own praise. Mr Gregan travelled down here on a regular basis, at times at short notice, as we worked through this issue on our agenda, amongst a lot of other work. The spirit with which he was received by the committee, his work with the officials, and the advice we collectively got mean I can certainly support with pride this legislation coming back into the House tonight. I think it was a very good process and one that, in the future, other select committees could look at using. When legislation required by an industry creates so much angst at the start, we parliamentarians need at least to try to find a way to work through it in a select committee process so that what is passed has a great deal more acceptability than what was first presented to the select committee.
RODNEY HIDE (ACT)
: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I did not want to interrupt Mr Carter, but while he was on his feet the Government whip Mr David Benson-Pope gave me an obscene gesture with his finger, by sticking his finger up then pretending to push it up his nose. I took grave exception to that and I suggest that he be asked to withdraw and apologise.
DAVID BENSON-POPE (Labour—Dunedin South)
: I did not make an obscene gesture to Mr Hide. That is a totally offensive suggestion.
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member’s word is accepted.
RODNEY HIDE (ACT)
: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Whose word is accepted—Mr Benson-Pope’s or mine?
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member knows very well that when members are asked, their words are accepted.
Rodney Hide: Well, we know what sort of man David Benson-Pope is now.
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Hide, that is completely out of order, and I warn you that when I have made a ruling on a point of order, it is not for you to comment on it—it is final.
DAVID BENSON-POPE (Labour—Dunedin South)
: I am pleased to rise in support of the bill. I think one of the key issues about the Wine Bill is that it is a response that the Government has made in cooperation with the industry, and was initiated at the request of the industry. No one in this country would be unaware of the extraordinary value and level of sophistication of the wine industry in this country, particularly in the last two decades. This bill will ensure that the excellent international reputation of New Zealand export wine is maintained, and that the standards we are forced to set by mechanisms that operate elsewhere are well and truly met. I commend it to the House for rapid passage.
R DOUG WOOLERTON (NZ First)
: New Zealand First will be supporting this bill. I want to thank the officials, and I want to thank the select committee chair. He did speak about himself—I thought he would be far more modest than that—but I had it in mind to congratulate him. The bill was in some difficulty. It was looked on with not only distaste but also suspicion by the industry, which thought it far too heavy-handed. It was at the chairman’s suggestion that Mr Philip Gregan worked alongside the officials, and I thank the officials for accepting that and working with him in the manner they did. They were able to overcome the distrust and suspicion, and I believe they worked for what we all want, which is good law.
Phil Heatley: Good wine.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: And good wine, as the interjector said. The industry sought this bill. It is concerned that things are tightening up. It faced tariffs and non-tariff barriers in countries it exports to. It was with those threats hanging over its head that the industry sought this bill and sought some regulation. The wine standards management plans take the place of several other Government impositions that the industry has had to fulfil, so they are not the burden that one might at first glance expect them to be.
The industry, through Mr Philip Gregan—a man who must be admired, and certainly is admired by myself; he has seven women and no other men on his staff, and runs a fine operation, as one would expect—in many cases came up with the ideas that have been put in this bill. Mr Gregan was the one who went back to his members and saw the changes through. He did not always agree with them, and in the beginning he rarely agreed. I am sure the officials took him through them very carefully, and they came out with a consensus. This made the work of the committee very easy, even though we were working in a short time frame.
My colleague Dail Jones hails from a winegrowing area, and has many good friends among the Dalmatian community, many of whom were founders—and we will not mention what that shows about Mr Dail Jones’ age—of the wine industry. He said in his first reading speech that changes needed to be made to the bill, and those changes have, by and large, been made. Because he is a lawyer I will bow to his superior knowledge of technical matters, and he will speak on those changes in the Committee stage of this bill. Suffice to say, he had the wisdom to foresee what was wrong with the bill, he talked of those changes in his speech, and those changes have come to pass.
Much has been made of the size of the wine industry, but it pays to get it into perspective. It is still a small and emerging industry by world standards. It is still a small and emerging industry by dairy industry and meat industry standards. But it is a hugely important industry because it is undertaken in places where pastoral farming is, shall we say, more difficult than in other parts of New Zealand. It is a nice, niche market that we can extract out of our land-based products in New Zealand. It is a niche market in the world market, as well. It is very important from that perspective.
It is important as an emerging market, because it is seen as a sophisticated industry. I do not quite know how that comes to pass. I hail from the dairy industry, and I think that is a hugely sophisticated industry. The wine industry sees itself as the epitome of sophistication. When we listened to Mr Gerry Eckhoff, we almost felt that wine took on magical powers. I have been witness to wine producing magical powers in people in the dead of night, but I have not been witness to that magical transformation in a stone cold sober member of a select committee. Mr Eckhoff knows a lot about this subject, and we see from his minority report that he abhorred and saw as a sin that this industry should take on any form of regulation, should have to conform to any standards whatsoever, and should, in any way, have to be anything other than a magical product of the grape the mysteries of which nobody would even attempt to unravel. Mr Eckhoff’s minority report springs from that basis. It will be no surprise to you, Madam Speaker, or to members to hear me say I think his minority report is a load of rubbish.
Hon Jim Sutton: An invasion of property rights.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: That is right. He did not mention property rights as far as this issue was concerned, but we heard a lot about boutique wineries in Otago. Whether that added to the debate was debatable.
The wine industry is very important. It is an emerging industry. It is an industry that we have to nurture. It is an industry of the future. It is an industry that fits with all the agricultural products that we produce so well in this country. I commend the bill. I even want to say a kind word about my colleagues from the other parties. We worked for a common cause, and I believe that we have come up with a very sensible bill that does away with a lot of overly bureaucratic nonsense. I believe that it will work well within the industry, and I believe that it has the industry’s backing.
IAN EWEN-STREET (Green)
: I would like to start my contribution this evening by thanking the officials who are here tonight. They undertook a very long and involved consultation process, and when they got to the select committee they found that, basically, they had to redo it. In my opinion, they did an outstanding job, and I do give my sincere thanks to them. However, I give them a small word of advice. If they were the ones who were responsible for the Supplementary Order Paper arriving on my desk at about 11 o’clock this morning, then they should try getting it there a bit earlier next time if they want me to support it.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Philip Gregan, the Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. My other colleagues have mentioned his contribution, as well. I think he brought a degree of rational debate to the whole discussion we had around the bill, simply because of his depth of knowledge. He was able to bring the views, at least of the bigger players in the industry, to the officials and into the select committee.
I see the Wine Bill as being a very positive expression of democracy in action. The wine industry wanted to integrate its activities into a single legislative framework, and basically this is what we have done. We have a regime that provides certainty for the industry. The industry wanted certainty in areas like the standards of production, exports, compliance enforcement, and industry-good funding.
The bill has a number of objectives, and my colleagues have mentioned a number of them. I would like to focus on just one this evening—that is, the setting of standards for identity, labelling, and the safety of wine. The wine standards management plan, or “WSMP”, as we came to know it as, lies at the very heart of the structure of this bill. It probably has its genesis in the Coopers Creek fiasco, which was a mislabelling exercise that occurred a few years ago. Coopers Creek was found guilty of placing gold medal labels on vastly inferior wine of the same variety, but not the actual wine that won the gold medal. In that case, the actions of a very few people quite explicitly undermined the whole industry—up to that point anyway—and the quite extraordinarily cooperative behaviour that was exhibited across the industry.
The ramifications of the actions of those few people have rumbled on through the years, and I think that this bill is a logical consequence of what happened all those years ago. I guess one of the ramifications that was unexpected by Coopers Creek at the time was that it made the winemaker famous. When he came to sell his label rights not long ago, he did exceptionally well out of it, financially. The industry has made its reputation worldwide by focusing single-mindedly on quality. That, I believe, is a very clear message for the rest of the agricultural industry. We should concentrate very closely on quality, as, with the possible exception of the milk solids dairy industry, New Zealand can never compete in a commodity market. We have to be a niche player. We will always be a minnow in agricultural terms.
Just as a very incidental point, I cannot resist saying that we need to be free of genetically engineered organisms for precisely that reason, which is exactly the position the wine industry is taking. It is my opinion that we are best to concentrate on the top end of the market, and that is what the wine industry already does. We already have very good market acceptance in all our premium markets.
So it is into this scenario that the wine standards management plan is designed to fit. Its intention, or its design, is to encourage all growers to comply with this overarching quest for quality, and, at the same time, provide a disincentive in terms of a compliance regime for those who may consider that their best interests are served by not complying. The wine standards management plan is a scaffold, a skeleton, around which the wine is created. Each management plan can be individually created by the winemaker or by his or her company. Equally though, it can be based on a template or a model that is more generic in nature. The whole idea of the wine standards management plan is that it is designed to identify, control, manage, and eliminate—or at least minimise—the hazards and other risk factors in relation to the making of wine, and therefore to ensure that it is fit for its intended purpose. Once a wine standards management plan is constructed by the winemaker or the company, it then has to be approved by the director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. It is then this plan that the winery works to in the creation of its wine.
I must confess that I really like the idea of management plans. On the one hand they do create a uniformity of process—keeping records, and things like that—that focuses on quality, so there is an underlying quest for quality that the management plans encourage. On the other hand, the management plans behave in an enabling way. They enable winemakers, within this structure, to be creative in the making of their wines. It is a bit like saying it does not matter what language we speak, we can still make a speech—but let us not go down that road.
R Doug Woolerton: In this Parliament.
IAN EWEN-STREET: In this Parliament we can, in any language. The wine standards management plans simply ensure that human health and safety is upheld, that the manufacture of the wine is traceable and accountable, and that the wine contains no unsafe ingredients.
Another aspect of this bill is that which refers to labelling. There has been quite a controversy around labelling, and I guess that dates back to Coopers Creek, as well. The bill provides empowering provisions that set New Zealand’s standards by regulation. The regulations do not change what is on the label of New Zealand wine but it does change how the information on the label is verified, and that is an important distinction. The wine industry was probably in an unusual situation, in that it approached the Government to increase the controls over the whole of the winemaking process. Usually people come to us, wanting to decrease controls. The wine industry actively wants to have more on the wine labels, in terms of accountability. They want labels to reflect information like the country of origin—obviously New Zealand - made—the region where the wine is made; the variety of the wine, whether it is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, or whatever; the vintage of the wine, which is the year it was made; and a whole range of other things. What the industry clearly wants is maximised information. It manifestly does not want a recurrence of the Coopers Creek fiasco.
I cannot let pass this opportunity to mention levies. A lot of submitters were opposed to the idea that this legislation would enable levies for cost recovery to be imposed. Their claim—and I have some sympathy for it—was that they already pay huge amounts in excise tax. The Hon David Carter mentioned the problems we have had with the increase in tax on port, sherry, and other fortified wines—by mistake, in effect. Although I have some sympathy with small winemakers not wanting to be lumbered with compliance costs and having increased levies, we do have to look at the reality of the wine industry—that is, its primary function is to produce alcohol. Although alcohol can be argued to be fairly harmless when taken in moderation—and I must admit I am a great contributor to the industry on the consumption side—
R Doug Woolerton: Are you a wine buff?
IAN EWEN-STREET: On occasions I have been known to—
R Doug Woolerton: Imbibe.
IAN EWEN-STREET: —imbibe, yes. It is certainly my recreational drug of choice.
Marc Alexander: Do you swallow?
IAN EWEN-STREET: Yes, I do swallow. The fact remains that alcohol can have very negative impacts on our society. I am thinking in terms of alcoholism for some people who cannot control their desire for alcohol, and, of course, in terms of its being a lead-up to car crashes and death by accident.
This is common-sense legislation. It started off as being very complex legislation and will probably finish up as being pretty complex, as well. But it is certainly a lot better, a lot clearer, and a lot simpler now than it was when it first came before the select committee. The Greens take great pleasure in supporting the legislation.
BERNIE OGILVY (United Future)
: Let me begin by stating what I think most people would surely agree with, and that is that the growth of the New Zealand wine industry is one of this country’s success stories. The figures I am aware of reinforce this—over $300 million worth of wine is exported today, compared with just $30 million worth 10 years ago. That is a phenomenal increase, and it must surely set a benchmark for other industries. Few, if any, industries I am aware of can so ably compete in such a saturated, competitive international market as the New Zealand wine industry has done.
Dail Jones: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. There is a buzz around the Chamber, and I am having difficulty hearing the speaker.
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: This has happened several times, and it is very disconcerting for the speaker if anybody is standing up and talking while the member is on his or her feet. I ask members to keep their conversations quiet and that they not stand up. I am sorry to have interrupted the member on his feet.
BERNIE OGILVY: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Winning over patrons around the world and bringing home more than its fair share of awards and citations means that New Zealand wine is a symbol of excellence. From its very beginnings, this country’s wine industry has grown very swiftly to become a world-class export sector that we can all be very proud of. Yet we must be mindful that a rolling stone gathers no moss. In order to remain robust, to remain very competitive, to continue to preserve its good name internationally, and to grow further, the wine industry must evolve. It must move forward to meet the ongoing requirements of its export markets. This wine bill, with its new enabling legislative framework, will allow export winemakers to better adapt to changing export conditions and safeguard the very good reputation that our wine commands both here and overseas.
Allow me to reiterate the point that this legislation is enabling legislation. It should not be considered prescriptive or, indeed, repressive. It enables any change of compliance in export markets to be met and dealt with by regulatory mechanisms that can be tailored to particular situations. It provides an efficient and flexible process by which winemakers can adjust to regulatory changes within their respective export markets. Rather than having to return to this House every time the regulatory regime changes, this country’s wine export community now has a process in place to meet those challenges, bypassing the potentially drawn-out legislative process it had to go through up until this point. The flexibility of this approach ensures that the new wine legislation will endure in the commercial environment in which the industry continues to operate. Current legislation is not designed to cope with the new situation in the wine industry—in particular, the need to pass special legislation to meet new Eurozone labelling requirements, which other people have spoken on.
Whether or not a minority in the industry disputes the need for the scope of this bill, or even the bill itself, the industry needs a new legislative environment. As production continues to surge and the international environment becomes ever more competitive, the existing regulatory regime for grape wine is becoming increasingly outdated. For other types of wines, as well, changes in the operating commercial environment make such an updated regulatory approach highly desirable. I note that the flexibility of the management plan is illustrated by its ability to be developed on a template basis—as other speakers have mentioned—across a particular wine industry, incorporating existing systems and codes of practice with that industry. An improved system of wine export controls is provided for in this bill, together with an improved mechanism for funding industry or industry-good activities. The bill also introduces important cost recovery for services provided to industry by the Government.
The protection of the wine industry’s good name in export markets should be of paramount interest to us as legislators. One means of harming the industry’s reputation is the falsification of export documents, as is alleged to have occurred in Hawke’s Bay recently. This legislation will go a long way to regulate against such an embarrassing and commercially damaging injury to a vital export sector. We simply must act to protect the industry.
After soliciting the views of the wine industry, I am satisfied that this bill provides the right disciplines for that industry. I accept that some winemakers are wary of increased compliance costs. United Future often advocates stemming the tide of regulatory creep and compliance burdens, but with regard to this bill, those costs are absolutely necessary. It should be noted that they do not blanket the entire industry, but apply only to winemakers who export their products. As I understand it, the key concerns of the industry have been met by the amendments proposed in the select committee, and the regulatory framework laid out in the bill has almost unanimous buy-in from winemaking practitioners.
Let me sum up by asserting that the Wine Bill is not strangulation legislation, as some have indicated. Rather, it will bring life to the export wine industry by equipping it with the capability to better adapt to change by protecting its good name, and it will help ensure that the wine industry remains an icon of this country’s commercial success. United Future supports the Wine Bill, and hopes that it will proceed expeditiously through the House.
PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei)
: I was intrigued by the last speaker, who indicated that this bill does not have high compliance costs. It was never intended that it should have high compliance costs, but I need to remind the Chair that, as previous speakers have indicated, when this bill first hit our desks in October last year, it had a high degree of compliance costs. The member whose eye was the keenest in identifying those costs was David Carter, but we were quick to follow, because we did not see the necessity to load more and more compliance costs on the wine industry—a successful New Zealand business.
Although David Carter’s eye was keener than most, we still found it necessary to equip ourselves with advice. That is where I, too, would like to acknowledge Phil Gregan, and if he were here tonight, I am sure he would appreciate my saying that. I am sure I would win his vote if he lived in Whangarei, and I acknowledge him for the time and effort he put in. I enjoyed his input—he was very succinct and clear. His “yes” meant yes, and his “no” meant no. He was a very patient adviser and a very patient advocate for the wine industry, and I am letting that be known.
It is interesting to note that when we worked through this bill clause by clause, word by word, with our knives out carving out the bureaucracy and compliance costs, Phil Gregan—
Hon David Carter: The “Paper Reduction Bill”.
PHIL HEATLEY: It was. When we come to the debate on the title in the Committee stage, we will be considering calling this bill—and Rodney Hide will be interested in this—the “Paper Reduction Bill”, because we carved so much crap and compliance costs out of it.
Phil Gregan was interesting. For instance, we would say to him: “This is what this clause deals with, in our view. Can you give us a brief precis on that?”. He did. We would say: “Is this acceptable or unacceptable?”. He would tell us, and we would move on. We would say: “Is this negotiable?”, and he would indicate whether it was negotiable. If it was negotiable, we would negotiate and move on. We would say: “Is this non-negotiable?”, and on behalf of the wine industry, he would say: “This is non-negotiable.”, and it was. We made changes, and I am proud of that. That is the end of my acknowledgment of Phil Gregan. If he were here tonight, he would appreciate that; and if he has any family living in the Whangarei electorate, I am sure they will indicate their thanks in 2005. I acknowledge David Carter and all my colleagues on the Primary Production Committee, who worked well together on that committee.
Trade issues came up a fair bit. Madam Speaker, you will recall—because you have been taking an intense interest in this bill over the last 18 months—that Part 5 of the original bill was separated out and passed earlier this year as the Wine Makers Amendment Act. That legislation governed the labelling of wine to ensure its access to export markets—particularly, if I recall, to the European Union. The bill originally dealt with trade issues. We carved off Part 5, but the bill continues, and the guts of it still continues to deal with trade issues.
We do have a successful wine industry, and I have to confess that my family, as consumers, contributes to that industry in one way or another. At the heart of the Wine Bill is the concept of wine standards management plans.
Gerry Brownlee: “WSMPS”.
PHIL HEATLEY: That is what we ended up calling them, and it was all to do with trade and standards. Those plans provide a single comprehensive and verifiable regime for food safety compliance, and we know how important that is when it comes to trade, wine composition, labelling, and overseas market access requirements. Those are the four legs of the table. They are the issues that provide stability for this industry when exporting overseas: food safety, wine composition, labelling, and overseas market access requirements. All are important.
Gerry Brownlee: What if the table doesn’t have four legs?
PHIL HEATLEY: It is quite true that three-legged tables do not have four legs, but I am talking about the success of this industry being underpinned by those four concepts: food safety, wine composition, labelling, and overseas market access requirements.
Wine standards management plans, which are at the heart of the bill, are developed by the industry and approved by another body. It is envisaged that they might be developed on a type of template basis across a particular wine industry, incorporating what exists, because a fair bit does exist. Most manufacturers understand the importance of labelling and of winning and maintaining market access. They understand the issues to do with food safety, so a lot of those things are already in place. However, the wine standards management plans will make sure that, on a template basis, or on a more specific basis, they can incorporate the codes of practice within the industry. That is very important for export markets.
Much was made of the Coopers Creek fiasco some time ago, and members have addressed that. I know that David Carter knows a fair bit about it, and the member of Parliament who spoke on behalf of United Future also mentioned it. The Coopers Creek incident caused a lot of trouble for the wine industry overseas, and we do not want to see that happen again. We hope that such incidents have been curtailed, firstly, by Part 5 of the original bill, which was separated out and made into an amendment to the Wine Makers Act, and, secondly, by the wine standards management plans. The bill also requires that all winemakers must operate under a registered wine standards management plan specific to them. There is a degree of flexibility there, and we have been quite concerned to make sure that growers do not face too many hurdles in obtaining them—particularly those who have standards in place, which, of course, involves most growers these days.
The bill contains strong powers of suspension in respect of the Director-General of Agriculture, who has the powers to act against registered plans that no longer meet the requirements of this legislation. If winegrowers do not comply as of the date the bill is passed and those particular clauses come into effect, the Director-General of Agriculture can use his or her powers of suspension. That is addressed in clause 17, which is a clause I would like to speak about in more detail during the Committee stage, because such powers should not be used loosely. We talked for some time with submitters about that, but we also understood that those in the industry who do not comply and bring the whole industry into disrepute—particularly in our overseas markets—need to be punished. The Director-General of Agriculture clearly has powers to address that problem under clause 17, which I will speak about later.
The need to pass this legislation is vital to the future of the rapidly growing wine industry. The setting, the monitoring, the compliance, and the enforcing of agreed wine quality standards, plus a more flexible system to ensure continued market access and a revised system for setting levies, are seen by the industry as being the main benefits. The downside of the legislation, which I will address, is seen by the industry as being the cost of compliance, and I will be talking about that. That matter has to do with clauses 85 to 97, and I can assure members that they will hear about it later.
GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: The development of the wine industry in New Zealand, particularly post-1990, has been quite extraordinary. In debating this bill, it is worth paying tribute to those who pioneered the industry many, many years ago. We should think of some of the difficulties they faced in their time. I understand that, for a time, it was not legal for a winery to sell anything less than 6 gallons of its product in any one sale. We have progressed to a point today where, I understand, New Zealand has in excess of 1,600 wineries, producing some of the best wines in the world. It is appropriate that this bill is passed to give the sorts of protections that the industry requires.
My support for this bill is based on my belief that the industry is quite comfortable with the provisions in it. Earlier in the year I was approached by Brent Rawstron and the Giesen Brothers from Canterbury—an area that is starting to flourish as a wine-producing area. They raised a number of concerns, which I believe are mitigated by the bill reported back to the House.
New Zealand produces unique wines. I have a somewhat uneducated palate when it comes to wines. Montana Wines was entering an agreement with the then Seagram’s company in the United States a couple of years ago, and Montana facilitated an opportunity for me to travel to the Napa Valley in the US as part of the friendship programme that New Zealand operates with the US. However, under our current Government I understand that that programme is almost curtailed, because friendship with the US is off the agenda. We do not talk about it; we simply subject ourselves to a humiliating 12-minute pull-aside that goes something like: “Hello, George”; “Hello, Helen”; “How’s the family?”; “Not too bad. What other things would you like to talk about?”; “Well, I don’t know.”; “Hang on, I’ve got to answer my cellphone, but nice of you to come, Helen. Goodbye.” Then the Government puts out a press release saying what a great relationship we have with that country.
I turn back to the bill. I was able to travel up to the Napa Valley and to a winery owned by Seagram’s, which at that stage was marketing—
Jill Pettis: Tell the truth.
GERRY BROWNLEE: Good God, Madam Chair! You must do something. That member is yelling out. They call her the paint-stripper. Just look at the varnish on the walls of the Chamber—it is starting to bubble. It will cost the taxpayer a fortune to fix, if that woman is not made to shut up.
I went to the large winery that Seagram’s had at the top of the valley, and the people there decided to have a tasting between two locally produced wines and two wines imported under the Brancott Estate label. They defied me to pick the difference. Even with my very uneducated palate, there was no question which of those two wines came from New Zealand. They were unique in their taste, they were quite fulsome, and I could understand why they were selling at such a premium in the US. It is an industry that is growing considerably, and needs encouragement.
I recall also attending a luncheon at the Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center—the building that was the victim of a terrorist attack just a wee while ago. I was there with the Hon Phil Goff; a well-known traveller and a gentleman well known for frequenting the best and most expensive restaurants all over the world and around the country. He is our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and I believe he is able to visit extremely good restaurants in that capacity. He has a quite considerable chequebook made available to him by the taxpayer. We were both guests that day of a well-known company that has connections in New Zealand, and those people were able to show us that some New Zealand wines on that wine list were selling at a price in excess of US$30. That is NZ$60 or NZ$70. The mark-up potential for the retailer in the US is very big, and it is only to be hoped that that price is reflected in the price to the grower as our wines embrace a standard that allows more of them to be marketed in such a strong way.
The other reason why we are pleased to support this bill is that although we are not particularly in favour of excessive regulation, we do notice the significant acreage of vineyard going in around the country. The other Sunday I drove up to a small mountain village called Hanmer. I noticed on the way, at Waipara, that hundreds of acres are being planted in grapes. I have noticed also in the Marlborough area the progress of the grape across the Wairau Plains. Those vineyards are going to provide significant employment opportunities for New Zealanders.
They also challenge the current Government to do something about the appallingly low incomes of New Zealanders these days. The Government is saying that New Zealand is now a $17-an-hour economy. Well, I doubt that anybody—with all due respect to winegrowers—working in a vineyard pruning, for example, is earning $17 an hour. In that regard there is a duty on the Government to ensure that regulation like this does not become too big an impost on that winegrower.
We also notice that a significant number of New Zealanders have their superannuation funds tied up in these vineyards that are appearing around the countryside. It is also in the interests of those people that we have an industry that is able to flourish and grow, and that can be easily recognised by the international community for its excellence.
Although the National Party initially greeted this bill with some degree of scepticism, we were very pleased with the response we got when we approached perhaps the greatest connoisseur of wines in this House, Mr Speaker himself, who was instrumental in ensuring that the select committee dealt with the concerns that the industry had.
Can I further say that the issue of the lack of trust in the Government is something we will keep a strong eye on. We were surprised that it decided to put on the sherry tax a few years ago. That was supposedly because it did not want 15-year-olds drinking sherry. I have to say I have not noticed hordes of 15-year-olds racing out to the sherry shop since the Government put the price up. Frankly, they were not racing there before. We are worried that the Government may see this growing industry as a significant revenue source—that is, a source of revenue over and above its natural growth. We most certainly would not want that. I can say that although the contentious issue of excise always is one on which the industry represents itself very well—
R Doug Woolerton: My God, this is hard work!
GERRY BROWNLEE: I say to Mr Woolerton that it was not me who called for urgency on this bill. It was not me who said that we have to plunge Parliament into urgency to pass this boring legislation; that we have to require the whole of Parliament to be here until midnight for the next 4 nights to pass this legislation. It was not me; it was that genius Dr Michael Cullen, that extraordinary manager of the Order Paper of the House. Michael Cullen would not have a clue. So here we are in the dark of night, heading towards the wee hours—no, it is only half past 8. I am even bored with my own speech, having recognised the time!
I will conclude simply by saying that the National Party supports this legislation in the full belief that it has support from the industry, and with the watching brief that we do not want this sneaky, “lefty” Government applying additional costs to those people in the country who have invested in this very, very productive sector.
LINDSAY TISCH (Junior Whip—National)
: I seek leave for the bill to be taken as one question in the Committee stage, and that there be a single, wide-ranging debate.
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action? There is not. The bill will be taken as one question, including the schedules.
Clauses 1 to 143, and schedules
GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: I would appreciate the Minister of Agriculture taking a call to explain fully the powers of entry for wine officers. This bill sets up a new category of policeman known as a wine officer—a person who apparently has the opportunity to enter wineries and exercise all the powers given under this section of the Act, together with, I suppose, the direction of scrutiny from some Government department that I am sure will be established, to be known as the “Wine Department”. It is not usual for Parliament to grant these sorts of powers to anybody. It is not usual for Parliament to grant to people, other than perhaps the police, excise officers, and those sorts of people, the right to enter a property quite freely to undertake some sort of activity in scrutinising what is going on in those premises.
I understand there is a necessity to protect the industry in this country. However, I ask the Minister, given the extraordinary depth of capital investment that people have to make to get into the wine industry, why they would want to stuff it up—because that is what the bill suggests in giving this sort of power to a wine officer—by doing something dodgy in the production of their wine? I think it is over the top. Even the suggestion that they simply cannot enter a property, but have to get a warrant from any District Court judge, community magistrate, justice of the peace, or registrar, does not quite do the job. We know that it is easy to go to a justice of the peace. Justices of the peace are unlikely to turn down an officer of the law, which these people will be, so they will grant them a warrant to go jackbooting through a winery, overturning the place, and perhaps even, by their very visit, destroying the reputation of that particular winery’s label. I want the Minister to explain why he thinks it is so important that these wine police are put in place.
That is one of the aspects of the bill that the National Party has serious reservations about. This is an industry that to some extent survives on the reputation created by not only the winemaker but also the location of the vineyard, and, ultimately, the product that consistently comes out of that vineyard. I suggest to the Minister that an overzealous wine policeman getting a warrant to go ferreting through the activities of a particular winery could very quickly destroy the value of a label. It seems to me that if there were unscrupulous characters in the industry, it would be easy for them to go to some gullible wine policeman and say: “I think you had better go and investigate my competition down the road, because they are putting X, Y, and Z in their product.”, which is contrary to the consistency issues that the bill itself sets out to protect. By the wine officer undertaking that activity, there is some destruction of the label, which might have been built up over decades of family activity, of struggling to make the particular business entity work, and of competing in competitions to get a name and a good reputation. It is very important that this Committee is reassured that the necessity of these wine policemen is well understood and totally in keeping with the intention of this bill.
There is another aspect in the bill that bothers us a little bit—that is, the methods by which costs may be recovered under parts of this bill. A range of fees or charges for all sorts of things are listed in the schedules, and one would assume—and the Minister can clear this up—that these fees and charges are not currently an impost upon those who participate in this particular sector.
Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture)
: The member who has just resumed his seat wants wine officers to have to go to a JP to get a warrant before they inspect a winery. All I can say about that is what bureaucracy gone mad is that member advocating now? What new compliance costs does he want to saddle the industry with now? What unreasonable burden does he wish to place on his parliamentary bench now? I do not know. He asked why wine officers have to have the power of entry. The answer to that is very simple. This has to be a rigorous, enforceable law that can protect our winemakers from the plotting of protectionist trade-barrier creators in the marketplace on the other side of the world.
GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. I realise that this Minister does not spend much time in New Zealand, but for the sake of the debate I refer him to clause 66, which makes it very clear that his law—his law—requires wine policemen.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): The member will be seated. That is not a point of order. He will have plenty of time to debate that matter. I remind members that while points of order are being heard there will be silence.
DAIL JONES (NZ First)
: The speech we have just heard from the potential leader of the National Party was absolute rubbish. He showed absolutely no understanding of the wine industry, at all. The thing about the wine industry is that if one label gets a bad name, then our entire industry can get a bad name. No one in the wine industry would bag another competitor just for the sake of trying to bring him or her down. It will never happen intentionally, because if one bags someone else one is shooting oneself in the foot. Our small, niche wine industry works on the cooperation of all the winegrowers and winemakers in New Zealand working together, which is why we have got such a harmonious piece of legislation. It is a pity the rest of the country cannot work together as well as the wine industry does. We have legislation here that the industry wholeheartedly supports. Is there any other legislation that has come before this Parliament since members returned for this session that has gone through so harmoniously?
That was until we had a speech from Mr Gerry Brownlee, the National member of Parliament for “Elam”, who is trying very hard to make a leadership bid. He has shown he has absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the wine industry. Obviously, not much wine is grown in “Elam”, although perhaps some is consumed by its member from time to time.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. It is not for me to tell you how to run the Committee, but I take this opportunity to point out some matters relating to the Standing Orders. One is that a member is entitled to have the name of his or her seat correctly pronounced. I know that that member, a connoisseur of the product we are discussing here, has had a late dinner and might have a little trouble with his pronunciation. The seat is Ilam. Secondly, it is most inappropriate for a member such as that to risk personal reflections, for fear of the retribution that may soon come.
DAIL JONES: I humbly apologise. The seat is Ilam. I stand corrected.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): Gerry Brownlee is correct: the pronunciation of his constituency should be correct. I am sure the member would want to pronounce it correctly.
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): Is this a new point of order, because I have ruled—[Interruption] There will be silence during points of order.
Rodney Hide: That is precisely my point of order, if you would like to hear it.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): Is it a new point of order?
Rodney Hide: Absolutely. It comes to my attention that you have made a ruling that there is to be no shouting out or interjections during points of order. When Mr Brownlee was taking his point of order Martin Gallagher, sitting behind me, was barracking on like a mad rabbit. As I got up to take my point of order Jill Pettis called out. If members from this side of the Committee do that, we are thrown out, but if one of your mates does it, he or she can stay and the rules can be laughed at.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): The member has no right to make those insinuations.
Rodney Hide: Of course I have.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): I tell Mr Hide that I am on my feet giving a ruling. There were several people saying things during those points of order. I will certainly warn people finally that there will be no discussion while points of order are being taken.
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): No, I have dealt with it. The member will be seated. If the member is dealing with the same point of order, he will be seated.
Rodney Hide: It is not.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): Is it a new point of order?
Rodney Hide: It is a new point of order. Point one is that that was your third final warning. As I got up to take my point of order, everyone heard Jill Pettis call out to me to sit down. After giving your third final warning you still did nothing. Why do you not act on what you say—“Final warning: Jill Pettis out.”
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): I will give the ruling, and I have said that there will be no discussion during points of order—
Rodney Hide: She said it straight after you—
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): While I am on my feet and I am speaking there will be silence—[Interruption] Mr Hide, that is the final warning. There will be silence when I am giving a ruling on a point of order, and I say that to all members now.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. It is every member’s right to take a point of order, but in so doing members need to be factually accurate, and they need to refer to the Standing Orders. I am sorry to call attention to a quite serious mistake on the part of Mr Rodney Hide. He referred to a member, Mr Martin Gallagher. Well, everyone knows that he lost his seat in 1996.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): Please continue, Mr Jones.
DAIL JONES: I apologise to the member for Ilam. I struck a nerve—there is no doubt about that whatsoever. I draw that member’s attention to the matters that were struck out by the Primary Production Committee. Members may recall that when this bill was being considered, just after the first reading, the type of wine police was mentioned on television. The clauses that were struck out from clause 112 onwards, about compliance orders and suchlike, were the clauses that New Zealand Winegrowers required be struck out, and the matter was done.
The area that I am concerned about, and that I would have thought other Opposition members might be more concerned about, is the fact that here we have a Wine Bill with a definition of wine, and I would have thought we might have a definition of fortified wine as well, because that would help us to do something in a member’s bill about the taxes on fortified wine. I ask the Minister what action is being taken with regard to fortified wine, and why no steps have been taken to include in a Wine Bill matters that relate to fortified wine—matters that have caused a great deal of problem in the country.
Mr Gregan’s name has been mentioned a lot. It seems that he has followed in the tradition of Terry Dunleavy, whom I recall, and, of course, George Mazurin. The wine industry has done extremely well over the years; it has very, very successfully lobbied both sides of this House. I think it is a credit to the wine industry, and it is also an indication to other people—
Phil Heatley: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. You would have seen this coming, as you have been watching it, as I have. We have Jill Pettis over there swapping recipes with Steve Chadwick, and we have Martin Gallagher over there swapping recipes with a United Future member.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): As the member knows, the whips are entitled to move around. No one—
Phil Heatley: It was one of the whips who was—
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): The whips, as we have said before, are entitled to move around to speak to members. No other members should be standing. I have warned Mr Gallagher once about that tonight. It is very disconcerting to the speaker, and it is not very polite. I tell all members to show respect to the speaker.
DAIL JONES: It was not really causing me any problems. But I note that is the second time the National Party has interrupted my speech for New Zealand First. Obviously, I have hit a sore nerve for the National Party and for Gerry Brownlee, the member for Ilam, with his recent failed leadership bid. [Interruption] Yes, and I saw the light a long time ago. One of the interesting things in this legislation is the removal of honey wine, and the retention of mead, with an interesting interpretation of it. I am pleased that the select committee took note when I warned the Minister last year in my first reading speech—and Mr Woolerton made this point—of the consequences of this particular legislation. I refer to
, Volume 603, at page 1526. New Zealand First is very, very delighted that the warning given in the first reading came to fruition during the select committee process, and action was taken on that warning. The select committee should be congratulated on taking notice of the warning. The way in which the select committee conducted itself with Mr Gregan has been exemplary.
But I just ask the Minister, taking into account all the interruptions, why fortified wine was not included in this legislation. It would have been a wonderful opportunity to do something about it, and concern has been expressed about that situation.
PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei)
: I would like to speak to these various clauses during this Committee stage, and I indicated that in my first speech. But before I do, I would like to thank the Minister in the chair—the “Minister of Fart Tax”—for standing up and giving us an oration on what he did not understand about this bill. When we in the select committee—I as a member, and my colleagues—first received the bill, and David Carter will confirm this, we actually had a bill twice as thick as this one, which was filled with compliance costs. We made the changes—took the knife to it and carved out those compliance costs. Yes, there are still some there, but the Minister seems to be unaware of that. In fact, I can say that, of the submitters, and there were over 100, a large number claimed that the bill could over-regulate the wine industry, and stifle innovation and development. That has happened in every industry in this country for the last 4 years through regulation, legislation, compliance costs, and taxes.
In fact, the Committee will recall that on 6 May 2003, the Government went into urgency, as we are now, except I believe that it was extraordinary urgency, and spoke until the early hours of the morning when the National Party defended the right of old ladies to have a sherry without it costing them a fortune.
Hon David Carter: A mean and uncaring Government.
PHIL HEATLEY: Yes. At that time the Government went into extraordinary urgency on the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill, otherwise known as the sherry tax, arguing that it would put up the price of alcohol to youngsters to keep them off the streets and to keep them from drinking. The interesting thing at that time was that the alcohol involved was 14 to 23 percent by volume, and that affects sherry. Not many teenagers drink sherry.
Hon David Carter: The teenager over there does.
PHIL HEATLEY: There is a teenager over there, that is right—the young member over there. Alcohol of a strength of 14 to 23 percent by volume would net the Government $18 million this year and next year. As Gerry Brownlee, the member for Ilam, said, it would be straight out of grandma’s pocket. At that stage the wine industry stood up to the Government and said “No more”, that it could not cope with all of that. That is just one compliance cost that I would like to indicate to the Minister that the wine industry has had to face. It would have had to face much more if it had not been for work by the select committee to cut out all the regulation and legislation we were faced with when we first received this bill.
There is a rigid and inflexible bureaucracy in the European Union, and we all know that. Certainly, the “Minister of Fart Tax” knows that, because he spends most of his time overseas on the other side of the world and not fronting up to constituents here. He knows all about the European Union, so he will know that over there, bureaucracy has strangled that wine industry. I am not too sure whether there are wine police in the European Union, with all sorts of uncertain powers, going through the books of winery businesses and having a taste of the product. I do not know whether the Minister has followed wine police in the European Union, but I wonder whether he is interested in what the powers will be for wine police in New Zealand. Has the Minister considered that after a morning of visiting a number of wineries his wine officers may need a designated driver and a police escort to do their job? Has the Minister considered that?
Hon David Carter: Ruth Dyson might have.
PHIL HEATLEY: I could not comment on Ruth Dyson. I do not think that is appropriate. But has the Minister considered that compliance cost when passing this bill? Apart from accident compensation regulations and employment relations regulations, and the increase in taxes, the compliance costs originally in this bill were excessive, and we took a knife to that. I have already thanked Philip Gregan for helping us out with that and I would like to do so again.
Hon DAVID CARTER (National)
: I shall pick up on the questions raised by my colleague Phil Heatley and ask the Minister why he felt we had to hear so many submissions and so much angst amongst the submitters. I suggest that if he does not have the answer I shall take him through to explain to him the need for the alterations we made. There was widespread submission about the positioning of clause 128. For those members interested, that is the clause around consultation and notification. The concern expressed to us that required some significant work by the select committee was the issue of consultation. I take this opportunity to advise the Minister that the distrust in which the industry held the Labour Government was caused by the sherry tax to which my colleague Phil Heatley has just referred. Not only were discussions occurring between the industry and the Minister as the bill was devised, but at the same time other Cabinet colleagues of the Minister wrote to various members of the industry saying that no further tax increases would be imposed by surprise. Then as Mr Heatley has reminded the House tonight, we were slammed into urgency and we worked through the night fighting gallantly to avoid grandma’s tax.
That is the basis on which we made a significant change to clause 3, “Objects of Act”, and we took the opportunity to insert a new clause 3(da), which meant that the fundamental object of the legislation is to promote consultation with industry organisations on the regulation of the industry as an aid to fostering efficiency in growth in the New Zealand wine industry. I have to say that even as the legislation now passes through the House, there is still an element of concern amongst the industry as we move from the legislative stage to the regulation-making stage.
As many members in this House will know, in legislation such as this, the devil is in the detail. Regulations will be required, and we accept that, but I certainly hope that there will be widespread meaningful consultation with the industry as those regulations develop. Following the process the select committee went through, officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry would have appreciated the need to foster that relationship. I certainly do not criticise them in any way whatsoever. However, it is important for the Minister also to appreciate the importance of genuine consultation.
A great deal of harm was done to the relationship by the $18 million tax increase, or grandma’s sherry increase; that sort of mistrust is easy to create, and often it is very, very difficult to regain support and confidence. After all, the Minister, with his recent escapades with the flatulence tax, knows exactly how easy it is to upset a community by simply promoting bad, bad policy. That is the principal clause I wish to speak on in this contribution—the significant changes the select committee made, strongly enforcing the requirement of consultation, moving it to the front of the bill, and the alteration to clause 3 with the insertion of new paragraph (da).
My second point is about the submission received from winegrowers regarding the positioning of clause 128. The committee gave a lot of thought to moving that clause, because that request was made to us. On reflection, and on seeking advice, we were advised that to do so would give an inconsistent tone to the bill, and the committee happily accepted that recommendation.
LINDSAY TISCH (National—Piako)
: I shall take a brief call on this very important legislation. I was fortunate to sit on the select committee in Christchurch. However, not being a wine connoisseur, I know very little about the industry. I am known as one who went to a restaurant and when someone asked me whether I wanted a Sauvignon Blanc, I asked whether that was a red or a white. That was my understanding—
Hon David Carter: Where were your French lessons?
LINDSAY TISCH: I did not take French, so French is not one of my fortes.
Darren Hughes: The member’s friend is Johnny Walker.
LINDSAY TISCH: There we have it. We have talked about the granny tax, and if we look at clauses 85 to 97 on compliance costs, huge compliance costs have already been mentioned in this debate. One of the issues in all legislation that this Government has become very prone to is to bring in charges that will affect an industry, by way of regulation. Phil Heatley and my colleague David Carter talked about the sherry tax. That tax was imposed with a view to stopping younger-age drinking or binge drinking. Who are the people who would be affected by that? The alcohol volume in those drinks was much higher than anything younger people would be interested in. It was those older folk, who like to have their wine and sherry before they go to bed. The young member over there who wants to criticise and make comments about the habits of people should reflect that this Government has done the industry a disservice and an injustice.
I want to come back to the work that was done by the chairperson of the select committee. I was impressed with his knowledge and understanding. All the members made a contribution to that select committee process, and I sat on the select committee, once only, down in Christchurch. I pay a special tribute to the Hon David Carter, because he steered through a major change from the original drafting, as we have heard tonight in the second reading and Committee stage speeches. We have seen that a cut-and-slash approach has been through and taken out some compliance that was not in the industry’s interests. It was a bill that had been hastily prepared. Legislation should be industry driven. It should be what the industry requires and wants, and we have heard tonight that the current bill is a vast improvement.
As I said earlier, I am not a wine drinker, but I certainly appreciate the fine wines of people who understand the industry. I was in the fortunate position last year of being in Spain, and in Madrid in particular. Some New Zealand wine importers were at a function at the ambassador’s home. The reputation of New Zealand wines was such that those people were saying to us—Bernie Ogilvy and Jill Pettis, the junior Government whip, were there and will appreciate what I am saying—that they could not get enough New Zealand wine. The reputation of New Zealand wine was such that it was outstripping French wine. The Spaniards were more interested in buying New Zealand wine than they were in wine from across the border in France.
So New Zealand wine has a reputation throughout the world, not just in New Zealand. When we looked at the expanding markets within the European Union, and as we travelled through France to the UK, we saw that the reputation of New Zealand wine had preceded it. If members have ever spent time in the United States, they will know that on the Pacific rim—the western seaboard of the United States, particularly California—New Zealand wine has a high reputation. This bill allows the industry to have some transparency and accountability. National supports the bill we are now debating, which has come about under the chairmanship of the Hon David Carter, and we are pleased to be part of that process. I draw the Committee’s attention to those particular clauses—[Interruption] I just sought another call, so I will continue in the same vein. I draw the Committee’s attention—
Dail Jones: He isn’t even speaking to the bill.
LINDSAY TISCH: I am. I am talking about clauses 85 to 97, which—[Interruption] I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. When I sought leave that the bill be taken as one question, the House gave me leave for a wide-ranging debate.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): The member is quite correct.
LINDSAY TISCH: I bring the Committee’s attention to that, because there was a comment made by the New Zealand First member that I was not speaking to the bill. I want to assure members that I am speaking to the bill, because I did attempt—
Gerry Brownlee: Would you reach the microphone if you weren’t standing on the bill?
LINDSAY TISCH: I am standing. I want to draw the Committee’s attention to clauses 85 to 97, because those provisions contain the compliance costs that we see in so much legislation today, which is one of the issues that National has with any legislation. I have called it regulatory creep.
Gerry Brownlee: No new taxes.
LINDSAY TISCH: This is a Government that said there would be no new taxes, yet we have had 18 new taxes. We sat in the House under urgency one night, which members will remember, and increased the tax for those poor, elderly people who like to have their port and sherry. The Hon Dr Nick Smith had the bottles lined up here, which showed that the younger people whom that piece of legislation was aimed at do not drink those ports and sherries. They are into those ready-made drinks, which I do not know much about because I am not a connoisseur. The member has just handed me a couple of examples. This one is a schnapps Archers Aqua orange, with 5.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Hon David Carter: They wouldn’t be covered by the bill.
LINDSAY TISCH: They are not covered by the bill. The point we made was that that tax was increased at that time, which did a disservice to the whole industry. The Government’s increasing taxes and compliance costs while this bill was being debated in its early stages did the wine industry no good. That is why I go back to the point I have been making. It was the Hon David Carter, as chair, and members of the National team who were able to bring some sense, accountability, and transparency into the bill we are debating tonight. National has great pleasure in supporting it, because we were very much part of making this user-friendly legislation, and the wine industry has supported it, but I still come back to clauses 85 to 97, which relate to the high compliance costs that we will have to deal with.
I also want to go back to clauses 56, 57, and so on, which concern the wine officers. These are extraordinary provisions. There will be people called “wine officers” who will police the regulations. They will have the power to get search warrants and enter property. That came up earlier when the member for Ilam, Gerry Brownlee, spoke. He talked about how one had to go and get a search warrant from a JP, District Court judge, community magistrate, or registrar, under clause 66, “Issue of search warrant”. I ask the Minister in the chair, Jim Sutton, to take a call on that.
The wine officers have extraordinary powers, and one would hope that those powers are not misdirected. Those powers are there for the benefit of the industry. We would like to make sure that that is the fact. Nothing concerns me more than people being given powers and thinking they can go out there and do anything they like. We are interested in the well-being of the industry. We want to make sure that wine officers do have the mandate and that their role is clearly defined. Otherwise, we will find that the industry will be disadvantaged.
DAIL JONES (NZ First)
: I might not have taken another call if it were not for the fact that I was provoked by the three National Party speakers who spoke about the night when we had the sherry tax debate in the House, and commented about how hard they worked that night. As I recall that debate, when we came to the final vote at 5 in the morning, there were 13 New Zealand First votes against the sherry tax, and—wait a minute—there were 10 National Party votes that night. There were 13 New Zealand First votes and 10 National Party votes. National members say that they are hard-working, yet that shows how hard they fought against that tax. They had 10 votes. I am not sure how the system works, but that suggests to me that there might have been about five out of 27 National Party members around the building that night to vote against the sherry tax. So 22 of them were nicely tucked up in bed, having had a sip of port or sherry, perhaps, and only five of them were left here that night, whereas we had 13.
Our leader, the Rt Hon Winston Peters, was here. He made the last speech on that bill that night. The Rt Hon Winston Peters fought to the end for the rights of the working classes, who were having their port and sherry taxes put up. We in New Zealand First were fighting hard. The National Party had 10 votes. About five of those members huddled around the Chamber—[Interruption] I would not have raised this issue if it were not for the fact that the National members were banging on so much about it. Sometimes they really do shoot themselves in the foot. They have raised that issue, though they behaved ignominiously on that particular night, when they went home to bed and left New Zealand First to do all the fighting on that tax.
As far as wine officers are concerned, I do not want to rub the point in, because I think I have done that well enough. We have made that well known to everybody. I would expect that if New Zealand wants to improve the quality of its wine, and wants to assure overseas countries that there is transparency—that is the famous word that we used today—and that we have high standards, we have to prove that we have a means of policing that. We cannot sell wine overseas with a New Zealand label of quality wine, unless we can prove to the French or the Americans—and the Americans seem to be worse than the French—that we have people checking that the quality of our wine is first-rate. The National members have sat on this bill for months and months, and they do not seem to know what they were doing or why they were doing it. I was not even a member of the Primary Production Committee. However, when I made my maiden speech in 1976, I spoke on wine. I have taken an interest in it and have been in the west Auckland area. That is why we have wine officers; it as simple as that. It is extraordinary that the National members should have filibustered all this evening on something that was obvious.
The other point to bear in mind is that the director-general finally issues the notices. It is the director-general who has that responsibility, and, under clause 128, it is the director-general who must consult, and if he or she does not do so, the director-general is in breach of a statutory duty. That is not the duty of Jim Anderton or whomever the Minister is. The director-general has a statutory duty to consult, and the Minister must check with the director-general. If there is no consultation, it is the director-general’s job that would be on the line, in terms of the State Service Commission’s requirements. That would be a term of the employment of the director-general, in so far as the wine industry is concerned.
What were the National members doing on the select committee, for goodness’ sake? They cannot understand the need for proper control of wine or for ensuring the export of proper quality wine. They cannot understand that the wine industry is a unified industry, wanting to work together for the interests of the industry. The fact is that when we had a big debate on port and sherry wine, those members were not here in the Chamber. They were not here to listen to the debate. If they had been here to listen to the New Zealand First members telling them how these things are done, they might have learnt a thing or two. But I see their numbers are down again tonight as well in the voting, and maybe that is the whole problem. The National members are never willing to learn, and they know nothing about the wine industry, despite having spent so much time on it in the select committee.
Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture)
: The member who has just resumed his seat was quite right. The reason for having wine officers, and the reason they are given powers of entry, is so that we can demonstrate to the world that we have a rigorous law governing the quality and standards of wine, and that we have the means to enforce it. That is it; it is very simple. The National Party members should have been able to grasp that over the many months that the Primary Production Committee was working on the bill. I would have thought they would get it by now.
There was also a lot of discussion while the National and New Zealand First members squabbled over who was most put out when the tax was increased on sherry and port. I know they will take this personally, but I do have to ask myself whether this is the same National Party and the same New Zealand First Party that were in cahoots when they promised that the wine excise would be removed, and the only tax on alcoholic liquors would be GST. Yes, they are is the selfsame parties. That just goes to show that when members are so assiduous in their researching of a topic, they damage their grey cells and cannot remember things.
I want to say to members that we know this debate will not go for much longer, because the National members want to get away and have their secret caucus meeting before they go home for the weekend. We are all dying to learn what the outcome will be, and who will be—oh, I should not say those words, although this is a wide-ranging debate, as one of the members who spoke has pointed out. This is a wide-ranging debate, so I dare say it is entirely relevant that we consider who may be the next “back-down Bill”—or the next leader of the National Party. Some of the National members, who may be hiding behind their benches, are plotting. They must be somewhere, doing something. They may be hiding behind their benches, planning their secret caucus meeting and who their next leader will be. It is obvious that their attention has not been fully engaged by this bill, so there must be something else on their minds.
GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: First, I want to return a remark or two to the New Zealand First Party—a party well known for its party spirit, and for its ability to make considerably important decisions at very small hours in the morning. How is it that a party led by none other than the Rt Hon Winston Peters, a man who often proclaims himself to be a friend of the producers of this country, is now buying into the argument being advanced by the Minister that the only way the world can be assured that New Zealand produces good wine is to have a Government inspector put a stamp on it? The only way we can be sure that New Zealand wine is good is if it has a gold medal from a Government inspector! I think that is a sad day for the industry, and a very sad representation of an industry by a party that, I am afraid, is way out of touch with what is going on in the commercial world in New Zealand.
I want to talk about the appallingly low incomes that New Zealanders have to endure under this Labour Government. A couple of weeks ago the Government Statistician produced new income figures for New Zealand. Members might be a little confused about why I am talking about that during the debate on the Wine Bill. Fortunately, in his bit of a whine to the Committee, the Minister opened this debate to very wide-ranging topics, so I want to make it very clear that New Zealanders are becoming poorer by the day under this Government.
One of the most fascinating statistics produced by the statistician was that if the income of all New Zealanders from wages and salaries was aggregated—part time and full time—the income from that source alone is only $337 a week per person in the workforce. That tells us that lots of New Zealanders are struggling out there. Lots of New Zealanders have trouble buying just the groceries, let alone contemplating buying a bottle of gold medal, Government inspector – stamped wine. Then there is the issue of people who are full time in the workforce. Full-time wage and salary earners are now earning $550-odd a week. Then we got a crowing statement from the Government that that represented a 5 percent increase, and was it not doing well!
I noticed something—
Hon Matt Robson: You have never bothered to struggle in the supermarket.
GERRY BROWNLEE: I do walk around supermarkets, Mr Robson, and I have noticed that many people put products out of place around the supermarket. They have gone about with their trolleys and taken the items they wanted, but suddenly worked out that they cannot afford them, and have had to ditch them all over the place. That member should look out for it next time. It would be a new experience for someone from the Alliance, the Progressive party, and the “What Other Name Can We Come Up With Next Party?”, to go around the supermarket like ordinary people do a couple of times a week. If that member did, he would see that people are having to make hard choices about the food they buy for their families, because this Government has them screwed down on very low incomes. Unbelievable!
Hon Marian Hobbs: That is right for the great city of Wellington, but Fendalton supermarkets? Get a life!
GERRY BROWNLEE: Well, there we have it. Marian Hobbs, the Christchurch deserter, is referring to the Fendalton New World supermarket—a supermarket very well run, I might say, by the Turner family for over 67 years—and suggesting that people who go to that supermarket do not have a problem. It might interest the Hon Marian Hobbs to know that my electorate has one of the highest number of State houses in the country. I want to tell that member that despite their income-related rents, those people will continue to vote for me, because they know that I have an interest in their well-being—unlike the Labour Party that enjoys their poverty. This is the Government that spouts that New Zealanders, from all sources of wages and salaries, are now earning an average of $337 a week, and says: “Aren’t they well off?”. That is the typical Helen Clark response.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): I realise this is a robust debate. However—
Gerry Brownlee: Wide-ranging now.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): —and it is a wide-ranging debate. However, I would remind members from all sides of the Chamber that they need to come back to the Wine Bill now.
Hon DAVID CARTER (National)
: I am very happy to take a call and speak to the Wine Bill. I want to thank the Minister for finally taking a call. We have been asking questions all night about why he could put such a messy bill before the Primary Production Committee. He finally stood up and took a call—but I do not think he talked about wine at all. He did a lot of whining, but I did not hear him talk about the Wine Bill at all. I heard him at one stage talk about the “Back-down Bill”. I thought that was appropriate. He is the Minister, who in only the last few days has backed down completely on the proposed bill coming before the House and—it was due any day—to enforce the flatulence tax. That is what the current Minister in the chair, the Hon Jim Sutton, will be remembered for. When he gives his valedictory speech, it will not be much use because people will not remember him for the Wine Bill. I will remember tonight, when we asked questions for a couple of hours and the Minister sat there reading his comic, because he did not know much about the Wine Bill. People will remember that Minister as being the man who proposed the flatulence tax, and then finally had to back down.
I was also intrigued by the very interesting comments from the New Zealand First member when he reminded us of the night we battled until 4 a.m. or a quarter to 5 in the morning on the “Grandmas’ tax”. [Interruption] It was 5 o’clock, he reminds us. He also reminded us that the National Party battled through those many hours of debate as it fought to stop that tax—fought gallantly—and that the New Zealand First team suddenly appeared at voting time. Mr Dail Jones should look back at the records. There were minimal contributions from that member. There were minimal contributions from any New Zealand First members on that evening. But he has confirmed to the Committee that the vote being taken at a quarter to 5 was clearly after the closing time of the Green Parrot, which must have been at half past four.
Gerry Brownlee: They’d drunk the wine; they’d drunk it all.
Hon DAVID CARTER: I cannot confirm or deny that. I was not there. But along they came, into the House, and finally managed to vote against the “sherry tax”. I want to thank the members for doing so, because the National Party gallantly fought that fight through the early hours of the morning, taking call after call. I just hope that the New Zealand First members, as they arrived at work, appreciated the way we had kept that debate going for hours and hours.
I want to finish by talking briefly about the bill, and commenting on the superb job the select committee did in carving out so much of the bill, with regard to compliance orders. I want to reinforce the point made earlier that there was a very good reason for taking out the part that the industry found absolutely objectionable—
Hon Steve Maharey: A listening Government.
Hon DAVID CARTER I say to Mr Maharey that if the Government had listened, the select committee would not have had hours and hours and days and days of work to do tidying up that mess. There was a suggestion made, in fact, that the Government had listened, and that there was a high degree of agreement amongst the industry for the bill as it was presented to the select committee—and then we were besieged by hundreds of submissions. They all said the same thing: the Government promised to listen, we had a bit of a round of consultation, and then the Government ignored what the industry was saying completely. So there is Mr Maharey’s idea of listening. He would go around the road shows, such as they have on at the moment regarding public access—
Simon Power: Oh, they’re going well, those public meetings.
Hon DAVID CARTER: I ask Mr Power whether they are a bit like the huis. Yes, the Government has a great spin job going at the moment—but we are talking about the Wine Bill.
I remind Mr Maharey that if Government members are going to consult, then they should do some listening and not present a mess to a select committee, as they did on this occasion.
Hon Steve Maharey: Oh, OK.
Hon DAVID CARTER: I am pleased to hear him saying that is OK. So we have won that battle, and we have won on the flatulence tax. The next one we have to win is public access.
STEVE CHADWICK (Labour—Rotorua)
: I move,
That the question be now put.
GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: There is no doubt about it. The social fabric of New Zealand will be to some extent destroyed by the Government’s proposal to stop smoking in bars. There is no question about that at all.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ann Hartley): I warn the member to bring his speech back to the Wine Bill, please.
GERRY BROWNLEE: One of the other things that people enjoy in those bars is wine. I think it is an outrageous proposal that the only way they can be assured about the wine they are drinking now, it seems—as the Minister has told us—is if that wine has a Government stamp on it. What a backward-looking Government.
Simon Power: Carless days.
GERRY BROWNLEE: That was us, actually, so we do not want to talk about that. But one of the great things about carless days was that we could visit bars and not be worried about driving home. The point, though, is that it is just not fair or reasonable for the Government to promote the idea that in passing this legislation it has somehow done the industry a particular favour. All the Government has done, after months and months, is finally find some time in Parliament. It is members’ time, I might say, because we are not able to ask questions of the Government over the next couple of days—mainly because we know how much trouble Government members get into every time they are asked a question. We know that they do not like the scrutiny they are being put under. So here we are, taking some members’ time to pass this bill.
We want to see this bill passed for the industry. There are aspects of it that are clearly necessary. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade really does do himself a huge disservice by suggesting that the only way in which New Zealand’s wine industry can progress, grow, and be respected by buyers off shore is if there is a Government stamp on the wine. I want to know what the proposal is for training all these wine officers. What will make them so capable of issuing the stamp?
Simon Power: Rick Barker will do well at that.
GERRY BROWNLEE: My friend Simon Power suggests that—
Government Members: Oh!
GERRY BROWNLEE: Settle down! We have an appointment at 9.30—the whole lot of us.
The new wine officers may be appointed by the Hon Rick Barker.
Simon Power: Good call, he does JPs.
GERRY BROWNLEE: He appoints JPs now and he does a fine job of that.
One of the great advantages of the Minister being able to appoint wine officers is that when he comes to the Chamber with his clear plastic file—which we can see clean through when we look across the House—he will have some papers to put inside it. We would then have the assurance that that was the Government’s transparent way of appointing these officers.
I started my speech by coupling the issue of smoking in bars with this bill. It seems to me that there is a freedom issue involved in this bill, as well. While the industry may want to have all wine produced in New Zealand certified as being of a particular quality, I would have thought that having the industry itself run such an organisation might have been better than having the Government set up its own bureaucracy around these so-called “wine policemen”. It is a very antiquated idea that the only way anyone can be assured that a bottle of wine produced in New Zealand is of a particular quality, is to refer to the Government stamp. That puts us back in the Dark Ages somewhat, as does the idea that people who are capable of earning their own income, and capable of making most choices in their lives, cannot go into a public bar and smoke cigarettes. But apparently it is going to be OK for those same people to buy marijuana and smoke that in all sorts of places. It is just hopeless.
DAVID BENSON-POPE (Senior Whip—Labour)
: I move,
That the question be now put.
- Motion agreed to.
- The question was put that the amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 162 in the name of the Hon Jim Sutton to clause 61 be agreed to.
- Amendment agreed to, and clauses 1 to 143 and schedules, as amended, agreed to.
- Bill reported with amendment.
Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture)
: I move,
That the Wine Bill be now read a third time. This is a good bill, initiated at the request of the industry. It cleans up the mess left by the previous National Government, a regime under which a few rogue winemakers were emboldened to misrepresent the contents of their bottles, thereby endangering the reputation and future of an entire industry.
This bill will ensure that the excellent international reputation of New Zealand export wine is maintained. It will ensure that consumers of our products, both locally and internationally, are totally confident that what they are drinking is not only safe, but is what they want to consume. The bill strikes a good regulatory balance—not so heavy as to stifle innovation, yet not so light that confidence in New Zealand wine is diminished.
The industry has expanded rapidly and now brings in $281 million in export earnings. The Labour Government recognises the importance of this sector for New Zealand’s prosperity. The industry faces a worldwide glut in wine, and the New Zealand grape wine industry is forecasting significant growth in the volume of wine produced here. Such competition only increases the industry’s need for strong legislation to facilitate exports. The Government has provided the platform for industry growth. It does not tell winemakers how to make wine, but simply ensures they have the base on which to grow exports.
The bill makes consultation a central focus, which is one of the objectives of clause 3. This will require the regulator and the wine industry to work together for win-win outcomes under the Act. This, in turn, should help ensure that the bill better facilitates the industry’s continued ability to compete on the international stage.
I appreciate that it will take winemakers time to become familiar with what the bill does and how it works. This is one reason why the bill provides for transition periods, and during those times and thereafter requires the regulator to consult winemakers, and their industry bodies, about regulation of the industry. I note that many of the elements that will make up wine standards management plans are already in industry codes of practice. These will require only minor modification to fit within the new regulatory framework.
This bill deserves the support of the House, as it delivers appropriate legislation to govern the making and export of wine. The Government has delivered what the wine industry sought from it. I commend the bill to the House.
Hon DAVID CARTER (National)
: The Minister has not been responsible for delivering what the industry wanted. The Primary Production Committee did the work that the Minister should have done, and that select committee should take pride in finally delivering legislation that the industry finds acceptable. After 4 long years the Labour Government finally has this legislation before the House, and I do not think for 1 minute that the industry will be fooled by the speech that has just been delivered by the Minister, who claims that this process has been a good one.
The industry was shocked into submitting 115 submissions when the bill was presented to the select committee, because it felt that the consultation process it had been promised had totally betrayed it.
What a mess it was that was presented to us. The Minister should be ashamed to think that he allowed the process to go through his office and be finally ticked off—a process causing consternation to the industry and involving it in hundreds of hours of submissions. Philip Gregan of New Zealand Winemakers came on board to work with the select committee as a special adviser, as the committee worked to tidy up the mess that was delivered by the Hon Jim Sutton. After listening to the Minister’s contribution, which has just concluded, I think the most telling statement he made was: “This bill does not tell winemakers how to make wine.” It is very telling, indeed, that even tonight, in the third reading, Mr Sutton says that this bill does not tell winemakers how to make wine.
R Doug Woolerton: He would like it to.
Hon DAVID CARTER: Exactly! As Mr Woolerton interjects, it suggests to me that that was considered. Helen Clark probably sat up on the ninth floor of the Beehive, thinking that she knew how to make wine—that she knew better than the industry that is about to deliver $750 million of export dollars to this country. The Labour Government, which tells us how to lead our lives, how to bring up our children, and whether we are allowed to smoke, was about to tell the wine industry how to make wine. So thank God, on this occasion, that did not get into the legislation.
In my earlier contribution to the second reading, I paid tribute to the wine industry. It is a remarkable industry that is held in high esteem around the world.
Hon Dr Michael Cullen: Unlike the National Party.
Hon DAVID CARTER: The Minister of Finance interrupts and suggests that the National Party does not hold the wine industry in high esteem. We might not be known as Chardonnay socialists, but I assure the Minister that we do appreciate the contribution the wine industry makes to New Zealand, and we do appreciate the $250 million worth of export earnings the country has received from it in the last financial year. I am very disappointed that the Minister of Finance interrupts with such a silly, inane comment.
I want to talk about the reason why the select committee faced such an angry submission arena. It was because the industry felt so totally betrayed in respect of the sherry tax. The industry had been told—in fact, it had been promised—and Mr Anderton had written to the industry, saying that under no circumstances would there be any surprise taxes and increases in excise. That was the wording. The letter was presented to us at the select committee. Within weeks of Jim Anderton signing that letter out, the House went into extraordinary urgency to pass the sherry tax—after that promise had been made. I note that Government members hang their heads in shame, and they ought to.
Phil Heatley: Taxing my grandmother!
Hon DAVID CARTER: Phil Heatley’s grandmother was affected. I think lots of grandmothers were affected. What was most galling about that tax was that speaker after speaker on that side of the House, amongst the Labour Party, listened to Jim Anderton and accepted his argument that the tax was being advanced in the House because we had to curb youth drinking. I say to Jim Anderton that he should get a life. He should get down to the strip in Christchurch, or go with Winston Peters to Courtenay Place on the odd occasion, and have a look at what young people are drinking. They are not drinking sherry or port. I say to the Government that it should not advance a large tax increase, when it will not make any difference to the level of alcohol being consumed by young New Zealanders.
In turning to the process by which the select committee heard the submissions and then decided how best to proceed, I want to welcome the decision we made to ask New Zealand Winegrowers to allow Phil Gregan, its chief executive, to work on the issues with us, and with the officials servicing the committee, to see whether we could find some consensus on them. It was a process that I think worked very well. I thank Mr Gregan for his contribution. I think that the committee, by having his expertise and contribution, has presented back to Parliament a bill that is far more substantial and far more robust than the one advanced to it in the first place. There was the issue around cost compliance and cost recovery. We listened and understood that the industry was concerned about, or felt betrayed by, the previous tax that had recently been passed, but at the end of the day most parties in the select committee accepted the need for the industry to be prepared to meet the costs associated with the implementation of this legislation. Only one party saw fit to advance a minority report in that regard. I appreciate the comments made by that particular party, but I think that it was perhaps unaware of the need for the legislation—the original request for the legislation having come from the industry.
All in all, the process has meant that a very credible piece of legislation is being passed here tonight. I take the opportunity to thank members of the select committee for working with me through the issues and for advancing legislation that I think is credible. The National Party has pleasure in supporting the Wine Bill in its third reading.
R DOUG WOOLERTON (NZ First)
: In spite of what the Hon Jim Sutton said, I would like to congratulate the wine industry, or more particularly the farmers, the viticulturalists, and the people who make up that industry, because it is they who all those years ago started to make an industry that now contributes substantial funds to New Zealand. I particularly remember, when growing up in my district, the Milicich family—a family whose business has now turned into Vilagrad Wines. It has become all upmarket. I want formally to thank that family for helping out a very hard-working young man who worked for very low wages and for very long hours, and who, unfortunately, was not allowed into the establishments that sold liquor. I want to thank the Milicich family for extending its service to this young man, in days of extreme hardship.
Dail Jones: Who was this bloke?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: This guy was a young fellow called Doug Woolerton. The family extended the hand of friendship, as I remember, from out of the back bedroom window of Mrs Milicich’s house. It helped us out of trouble in the middle of summer, when things were very desperate indeed. That family introduced me to wine. I have never been able to drink modern boutique wine, because it is far too sour. The wine I grew up on was 90 percent sugar, 9.5 percent water, and 0.5 percent grapes. I am extremely thankful to the Milicich family for introducing me to that nectar when I was 17 years old. I remember the family with fondness. I want to extend my thanks to Ivan, who is probably flogging his guts out, ample as they are, in his restaurant on the highway between Hamilton and Rukuhia—even though he was the recipient, the same as I was. His parents, when providing their little illegal help, did not know that Ivan was in the car with me. Although they would deny him his share of the grape, they were happy to sell it to me, out of the back bedroom window, and I, being the good-hearted person I am, shared it with him. That was my introduction to the sweet wines of the early days. That family establishment has gone on to be a very, very good operation called Vilagrad Wines, situated just out of Hamilton.
So the industry worked very, very hard. It did what it had to do, and, in a fairly short time, it has established a remarkable record amongst the sophisticated winegrowers of the world. This industry gives New Zealand agriculture a level of sophistication—not to mention the selling of one heck of a lot of pine trees in the form of tanalised posts; so it does more than the consumers of the grape would realise.
I was somewhat disappointed at the ramblings of the National Party in the debate earlier. I was disappointed, because to me National members took on all the aspects of ill-bred and ill-trained dogs, barking at everything within their purview, including the Government. That was not the right way to carry on, especially when what they were going on about was the sherry tax that was put in place by this Government, wrongly so, in my view, and especially when, at 5 o’clock in the morning, I believe it was—although I was not actually looking at the time—New Zealand First was still voting at full strength, with 13 votes, and the National Party, which I know has reduced numbers these days, was voting 10.
Martin Gallagher: How many?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Ten. I do not know, and I have no way of knowing, whether its members had gone to bed or had fallen over, but I do know that they were not in the Chamber. It is those who are here to vote who count. The rest do not matter. Although National members make a big fuss about the issue, on that night they were not here, so they do not matter. I am not surprised that they are in a spot of bother at this time with leadership problems, and heaven knows what else.
Martin Gallagher: What sort of bother?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Great bother. They have leadership problems. It does not surprise me, because once they start doing that sort of thing and start taking this House lightly, they will end up in trouble.
The wine industry is providing for New Zealand something I think we will see much more of in the future. It is a niche industry supplying a niche market in competition with the best in the world. That is why I congratulate the founders of this industry and the present players within it. They have taken on the best in the world and have not been satisfied with what I jokingly called the sweet wines of the past. They started there, but they quickly matured, and they understood one thing that we in this country should all understand and take notice of—we have to aim for the top level. We have to aim for the highest barrier, and we have to compete and win in the toughest markets in the world. It is those markets from whence we will get the highest return. Commodities, even though they play a huge part in the export industries that we are so successful in, are the lowest end of the market, and the wine industry has shown the rest of us that we must aim for the top end. In striving to do that, we will take not only the growers and the industry personnel but also the living standards of this country to a higher point.
Hon MATT ROBSON (Deputy Leader—Progressive)
: I have never seen a kiwi at night, not even in captivity, but I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I had pleasure of the rare sight of Doug Woolerton speaking in the House—a rare sighting indeed. I do not think I learnt a lot from it, apart from the fact that in the end New Zealand First will vote for the bill, yet there are significant criticisms. From the National speeches I did not learn much either, but I congratulate Jim Sutton on a bill that is the very model of a modern, major piece of legislation. The Labour-Progressive Government has delivered an industry-specific bill, and that is another promise delivered on. National Party members certainly have problems and I think we heard them tonight, with all the red herrings they were floating about this bill.
As to the question of the grandmothers’ tax, they know all about grandmothers because most of them have sold them to get here. That is the only thing I got out of that. The sherry tax, of course, is an anti – drink binge tax. That is what it is for. [Interruption] If they are interested at all in the health of young people, they might be interested in the statistic that between April 2003 and July 2003 there was a 90 percent decrease in the sale of light spirits. But they are not serious about that. What they are serious about is trying to see who is top dog, and that was the battle between New Zealand First and National tonight, as the great Prebble plan of bringing together National, New Zealand First, and ACT is clearly falling apart. I wish them well. They will all need wine to get over the fight they are having. I congratulate Mr Sutton on a very good bill and the work done on it.
IAN EWEN-STREET (Green)
: Tonight we have heard, I think, every party support the wine industry, and I join them. I think the wine industry has shown the way to many of our agricultural industries. The wine industry is innovative, it knows its market, it goes out and sells to the top of the market, and it knows exactly what it wants to do. It is focusing on quality. If there is any suspicion that somebody might be not playing the game, it lands heavily on them. That is what this bill is all about. It is putting in place the structure the industry has been wanting to have in place.
This industry is very important to this country, but it is vulnerable. One need look no further than to what has happened in California and Florida to see that a wine industry can collapse, virtually overnight, though biosecurity problems. In California and in Florida they have the glassy-winged sharpshooter—I had to get that in—which is a vector for Pierce’s disease. If we had that infestation, which is fatal to grapevines, in New Zealand, then the wine industry would go down the gurgler virtually overnight, because it is an incurable disease. The wine industry does have the option of protecting against that sort of thing. In the United States they are looking at genetically engineering their grapevines to prevent any kind of infection like that. But the wine industry in New Zealand has quite specifically and repeatedly said that it will not embrace genetic engineering, for the reason that its markets will not accept genetically modified wine. These people are not rabid “greenies”. They are not rabid, longhaired, jandal-wearing, tree-hugging, mung-bean munching “greenies”. These people are basing their decision on cold hard economics. They are saying that they do not want to embrace that technology because it is bad for their business. They do not even want genetic engineering for other forms of agriculture in this country, because it will harm their business. That is the reason that this industry is doing well—these people know what its market is. They know that if they go to the top end of the market and provide high quality, they will never regret it. Yet that is what this Government is going to impose on them.
Rodney Hide: What Government?
IAN EWEN-STREET: That 4½-year Government over there. It is going to introduce genetically engineered organisms into our wider environment, and what is going to happen to our market? It is going to go down the gurgler, aided and abetted, I might add, by the National Party, and ACT, and United.
It is a shame. Why do we not learn from the people who are playing the game properly—the people who are actually in touch with the realities of economics and of growing things in this country? We are always going to be a minnow in agricultural terms. We can only ever go for the niche market. The niche market that is best suited to this country is the quality end of the market, which is where the wine industry goes and where a lot of our other industries go.
Zespri is another industry that is right at the top of its game. What does it do? Does it want to embrace GE? Not on your nelly! It does not want it. It knows what its market is. Zespri knows that its consumers in the UK rejected it absolutely, as did consumers of wine in the UK and Europe. Not only will they not buy it; they will go out of their way to avoid buying it. They will pay a large premium to avoid buying it. What on earth are we doing?
Rodney Hide: God knows what the Greens are up to.
IAN EWEN-STREET: God knows what the country is up to.
We are a market-driven economy. For better or for worse, that is the reality for us. We are a market-driven economy. It is incumbent on us to produce what the market requires. The market has made it very, very clear that it does not want genetically engineered products. The wine industry knows that, the kiwifruit industry knows that, and the meat industry knows that. Most industries know that. When will the Government pick it up? We are not talking rocket science, I say to the Government; we are talking common sense. We are talking economics. We are talking markets.
Another aspect of this bill that I find very positive is the aspect of labelling.
Simon Power: This is hopeless.
IAN EWEN-STREET: The labelling is not actually hopeless.
Simon Power: No, this is hopeless.
IAN EWEN-STREET: Is it? Well, it is better than the National Party with its secret meetings and its desire to collapse the debate at the moment. At least we do not have the internal problems that the National Party has. Perhaps the member’s interjections might be better placed—[Interruption]
One of the aspects of this bill that the industry wanted was—to pick up an ACT phrase—to have truth in labelling. It wants to have country of origin, the vintage, the variety, and the provenance of the grape on the label. I support that. Why on earth do we not have that with genetically engineered food coming into this country? What is so difficult about putting on a label the words “This food may, or does, have genetically engineered ingredients”?
Ron Mark: They can’t write that small.
IAN EWEN-STREET: That is about right, too. There is no reason why that labelling cannot be put on. If labelling on all food said: “This food may include genetically modified organisms”, then it would immediately lose its impact. The label may as well not exist. The wine industry knows what its market is. It is saying that the consumers and the producers want to know the history, the traceability, the accountability of the production of wine, and that is what the consumer wants.
Hon Marian Hobbs: So why doesn’t the European Union label its wine?
IAN EWEN-STREET: The Minister for the Environment is all very keen to interject, but we are talking about reality here. We are talking about markets. I was accosted by that well-known left-wing radical in the street the other day, Doug Kidd—a former National member and Speaker of the House. He accosted me in Lambton Quay, and said: “I’ve just come back from England.” He put his arm around my shoulder, and said: “Ian, what you guys need to do is tell the country that all the trucks that are supplying the supermarkets in England—the Sainsburys, the Tescos, the Icelands—have big signs on them, saying: ‘All our food is GE free’.” I said: “Doug, that is exactly what we’ve been trying to tell the country, the Government, and the National Party for the last 5 years. But will they listen? Will they what!” So I suggested to Doug Kidd that maybe the National Party might like to take up GE free as its policy. I think that is a pretty good idea. We might get the National Party back as a real Opposition if it actually took on a common-sense policy such as that, and said: “Why don’t we support what 70 percent of the population want?”. People want a GE-free New Zealand. That is a bit like the nuclear ships issue, is it not, I ask Mr Power. New Zealand identifies really, really strongly with being nuclear free, and we identify really, really strongly with being GE free.
Simon Power: Take a science-based approach.
IAN EWEN-STREET: I am a scientist. I do take a science approach. I pride myself on my scientific approach. There is good science and there is bad science. Take nuclear bombs. That is science, but it is bad science, and there is really bad science associated with GE. I do not put aside the possibility that in future it will be good science, but let us keep it in the lab until such a time as it is good science, until it is predictable, and until we know the outcomes and the long-term consequences of introducing alien species into our environment. We do not know those consequences. We cannot know them. The Greens do support this bill, and we look forward with pleasure to its becoming law.
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Deputy Prime Minister)
: I am very pleased to take a brief call in support of my colleague Jim Sutton on this bill. This is a bill that is being considered at a peculiarly appropriate time in the history of the New Zealand Parliament and New Zealand politics, because, at this very time, the National Party is considering what wine it wants to choose to be drinking up to the time of the next election. Does it stick with that little Southland bottle, “The English”? It was a wine that gave great promise of something when it was young. It seemed to show some promise at that time, perhaps even some complexity. But the truth is that it just has not aged in the bottle, at all. It has now gone extremely flat, and every bottle that is opened turns out to be corked—and so he ought to be by the National Party caucus at the next available opportunity. So what does National have instead? It can go to “The Brownlee”, a sort of mid-Canterbury wine—a very big, full wine, one could say, but somehow lacking in substance and body, despite the fact that it is a very big, full wine. And there is a bit of a suspicion that although it claims to be a “white”, there is something slightly pink about it from the perspective of the National Party. Finally, of course, there is the alternative, “The Brash”, an Auckland model now. It has certainly been aged in Reserve Bank oak for a very, very long time. It is the only bottle of wine I know that has on it: “Do not drink more than two glasses, or the price may go up.” That is “The Brash”. Its problem is that it is a very flinty wine that leaves a kind of sour aftertaste on every possible opportunity. So we will watch to see the wine tasting going on in the National Party in the near future. In the meantime, this bill will pass, and the wine industry will carry on.
PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei)
: I would like to bring the House’s attention back to the Wine Bill. We have heard about genetic engineering, we have heard Michael Cullen show off in front of his Council of Trade Unions mates, and now we are going to get back to the Wine Bill. I want members to know that when we first received this bill from the Government it was twice as thick and twice as long as it is now, and it was full of bureaucracy and compliance costs. The Primary Production Committee, as a responsible select committee, took the knife to it and cut out copious quantities of regulation and legislation—powers that would have come, no doubt, in the future—simply because we do not believe that the wine industry at this time needs to be burdened with more and more compliance costs, which certainly would have happened had the committee not done the work it did on the bill.
I would like to acknowledge the chairman of the committee, David Carter, who worked hard in keeping us focused and keeping Labour Party members focused. I acknowledge Janet Mackey, a responsible deputy chairperson. I acknowledge other members of the committee. The “MP for Helsinki”, Harry Duynhoven, was on the committee. Also there was the member of Parliament who abstains, Ashraf Choudhary, and Ian Ewen-Street, who from time to time is on the committee. He is an occasional member of the Primary Production Committee, and we welcomed him back for that particular part of the bill. There was also Dover Samuels and, of course, Doug Woolerton, and others. I certainly acknowledge all of them and the good work they did in cutting out the bureaucracy and compliance costs that many of the submitters brought to our attention.
The select committee received 115 submissions, and we talked about that earlier but we did not mention that by far the majority of them were concerned primarily about the compliance costs I have mentioned. We heard 26 submissions, and the majority—just over 17, I think—of them were concerned about those compliance costs. Some believed that innovation would be stifled within the industry and development would not happen as quickly as it has in recent years. We heard about the inflexible bureaucracy within the European Union, and about how the Minister Jim Sutton was going to bring that bureaucracy into our industry in New Zealand. Submitters expressed concerns that what happened over there and what has hurt the industry over there was going to hurt the industry here. They understood there had to be a degree of regulation. They appreciated the fact that the wine industry is underpinned by this legislation, but they did not feel that the amount of compliance cost brought about by the original Government bill—Jim Sutton’s bill—was necessary. So the select committee carved out many clauses. They will not be missed. The wine industry, I know, is grateful to the National Party and others on the committee for recognising that and making those changes.
Too many compliance costs have hit this industry in recent years. Members will be aware of rising accident compensation costs, the costs of employing people, and the difficulty of employing people within the industry. Members will be aware of transport costs escalating and all sorts of indirect taxes. Members will also be well aware of the extraordinary urgency that went on several months ago. On 6 May 2003, as I recall, the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill, otherwise known as the sherry tax, was debated until the early hours of the morning, under extraordinary urgency in this Parliament. That bill raised the excise tax on alcoholic beverages, 14 to 23 percent alcohol by volume, I recall, netting the Government 18 million bucks, and we debated that until the early hours of the morning. That affected the industry indirectly, but not as much as it affected all those elderly people in the provinces and the cities who purchase sherry and other products with those alcohol volumes. It did not affect them that much but it certainly affected them.
I was intrigued, I must say, by the Hon Matt Robson’s comments that that legislation, which was rushed through the House, was intended to curb youth drinking. I think most of us see that as ridiculous, a stupid concept; about as stupid as the “fart tax”, and when his Labour Party colleagues discovered that he and Jim Anderton were actually taxing the elderly of this country with the sherry tax, they were under tremendous pressure. No youth in this country drink sherry. They never did. They are not taxed. This tax has not put them off drinking, but I can tell members that a lot of responsible adult drinkers, who have earned the right to have a sherry after dinner, after work, or after bowls were hurt by that. I still hear about that throughout the country as I visit elderly folk who are concerned about the way this Government is going. The unexpected imposition of that further excise tax on fortified wines, the sherry tax, hurt and disappointed the industry, and we heard a lot about that during the submissions, interestingly enough. The submitters were quite suspicious, when they came to the select committee, about the Government’s agenda over wine excise and where it was heading. They were concerned that 6 May earlier this year was actually a flag for further interference within the industry and further stifling of the industry. We listened to those concerns, and we made a lot of changes.
The Wine Bill, as members will be aware, introduced cost recovery for services provided to the industry—that is, by the Government—including activities such as recordkeeping. A number of submissions related to increases in compliance costs. The committee worked quite hard to ensure that there was a minimal impact on the industry in respect of these regulations, and, of course, the levies. Certainly, this industry is levied enough. Certainly, it is taxed enough, both directly and indirectly, and I do not need to go over those issues. Those compliance cost matters were the issues that came up time and time again. I can only say with some pride that I was able to work with David Carter and members such as Janet Mackey, Doug Woolerton and others to see those compliance costs carved out of the bill, or kept to a minimum, so that this industry can continue to do well in the future.
Certainly, the bill still requires all winemakers to operate under a registered wine standard management plan situation. But that is to enforce food safety and labelling provisions. That is all about market access, which, they recognise, needs to be maintained and, of course, increased. We are happy with those provisions. There is some regulation coming out of this legislation. There will be some compliance costs, but I can assure members that there is not the compliance-costs content in this bill that there originally was when it came to the select committee. So we support this bill. We support the extensive changes that were made to make sure that the industry does not face the bureaucracy it could have faced, and we happily support the passing of this legislation.
JANET MACKEY (Labour—East Coast)
: It is with pleasure that I stand in the House to speak to the final reading of this bill. It is a bill that came to the Primary Production Committee at the behest of the industry. The industry wanted access to the European markets, and New Zealand needed to show that it met certain standards, in order to achieve that.
The select committee worked well. It always surprises me when members say the bill we got was shocking, and the committee had to change it. That is what the select committee process is about. We hear submissions and then we apply that information and input to the bill before us, and then return it to the House in a better shape. I would have thought that every select committee would aspire to work in that way. It sometimes appears that “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
I acknowledge the contribution made by Doug Woolerton. He always has a lot to say on bills before the select committee. I was interested in his contribution tonight claiming that when he was 17 he first encountered the Miliciches and wine. I have to say that the East Coast electorate probably has claim to being the home of the grape in New Zealand, given that the botanist on the
Endeavour actually sketched the wild grape growing in Poverty Bay. So I think it is appropriate that the East Coast should have an input into this legislation.
I thank all those people who made excellent submissions. I certainly thank the officials we had. I suspect they are still convinced that some winegrowers will submit their returns on tablets of stone. We have persuaded them that we should leave it up to the various winegrowers to decide how they keep their records, as long as they are readable.
I also thank Philip Gregan from the Wine Institute, who was both a submitter and an adviser to the committee and worked alongside the officials. As a result of that sort of cooperation, and the cooperation of members of the committee, I believe we have produced a bill that meets with the approval of the industry that asked for it. It is a bill that will enhance the industry’s opportunities in the future.
A party vote was called for on the question,
Thatthe Wine Bill be now read a third time.
||New Zealand Labour 52; New Zealand National 25; New Zealand First 13; Green Party 9; United Future 7; Progressive 2.
||ACT New Zealand 5.
|Bill read a third time.