29 Jan 2015

Opposition against tax rebate nothing new

6:25 am on 29 January 2015

The New Zealand wine industry body is defending exporters being able to collect a tax rebate in Australia, as politicians across the Tasman call for it to be axed.

Under the Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade agreement with the Australian government, some New Zealand wine exporters were eligible for a refund on the Wine Equalization Tax.

Some Australian politicians and wine industry figures wanted it stopped, calling it a subsidy that was disadvantaging their industry.

But New Zealand Wine Growers chief executive Philip Gregan said the CER agreement had been in place for 30 years and opposition had been around for a while.

"It's been bubbling along over the last year or so. Some people in Australia have tried to describe the wet rebate to New Zealand wineries as a loophole.

"It's not, it's simply about trade rules being in place and under CER, that which is good enough for Australian wineries is good enough for New Zealand wineries."

He said if it was axed, it was not likely to make much difference to the total sales of New Zealand wine in Australia.

"It would clearly have an affect on some individual wine makers but our success in the Australian wine market it not based on the WET rebates, the WET rebate is based on consumer demand for our products."

Mr Gregan said Australia had a greater share of the New Zealand wine market than we did over there.