9 May 2014

China dictating food rules - Peters

7:12 am on 9 May 2014

New Zealand First has damned what it says is the Government allowing China to set New Zealand's food safety standards.

China has effectively banned eight New Zealand formula manufacturers and scores of formula brands from exporting product to it after they didn't meet new standards China introduced at the start of May.

Winston Peters.

Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the Government walked away from companies in a disastrous situation, while giving favours to one dairy company, Oravida.

Mr Peters said the Government had some explaining to do.

"Well, the tragedy of this is that a world leading supplier of milk products, New Zealand is now having to live with the standards set by another economy," he said.

"Now, go and ask some woman in China with a baby, which product does she want, the Chinese product or the New Zealand product? She'll say the New Zealand product any day.

"So how did we lose our sovereign right to set our own standards so easily."

Mr Peters said the Ministry for Primary Industries did not have the fire power to deal with the infant formula crisis because so many personnel and so much expertise had been lost at the ministry due to Government cuts.