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Reputation of NZ wine industry cracking after more prosecutions

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 18 December 2018, 10:32a.m.
The Ministry for Primary Industries prosecuted Yealands "for deliberate, deceptive and sustained breaches" of the Act. Photo / 123RF

Two successful prosecutions within the wine industry are being held up as examples of the Ministry for Primary Industries doing its job.

A woman was convicted yesterday for faking wine EU export papers, with a judge saying the crime impacts the industry's reputation.

Yealands wine was also fined last week for adding sugar to wine destined for Europe, then falsifying documents.

Former Winegrowers Association chairman and now National MP Stuart Smith told Mike Yardley people will always find a way around the rules.

"This is not good timing, and is unfortunate to say the least. While this offending hasn't put anybody's health at risk, it is still an important breach which has occurred. The wine industry takes this sort of thing very seriously."

When asked if MPI were doing enough, Smith said because of the massive scale of the wine industry in New Zealand, it is impossible to be on top of every single export.

"I think the prosecutions show we are certainly taking the issue very seriously. You can have all of the rules you want, but bad actors can always find a way around them. This is extremely hard to stop."

"In the case of Yealands it was a whistle blower, I'm not sure how MPI got to the bottom of this one. I can understand how wineries get caught up in this, they probably expect because the wine wasn't for sale they would be able to clear the export should it go ahead, but its still non excusable."

LISTEN ABOVE AS STUART SMITH SPEAKS TO MIKE YARDLEY

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