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Dominion Apples

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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48.

asked the Minister of Food why the export of apples from New Zealand to this country has been stopped; and, in view of the urgent demand for apples in this country, if he will arrange to import the largest quantity obtainable.

As my right hon. Friend explained in a reply on 2nd April. I am afraid we shall not be able to import any apples from New Zealand this season as there is no refrigerated tonnage available for this purpose after providing for the refrigerated space required to import meat, dairy products and other commodities. The import programme for the second half of the year has not been settled yet, but we shall certainly try to get all the apples that we can.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a shortage of doctors as well as of apples, and will she endeavour to increase home supplies so that there are sufficient to provide us with one a day?

Why is it that there are refrigerator ships available to bring in from the Mediterranean luxury fruits which we could really manage without, but none to bring apples—which are sold at a controlled price—from New Zealand and Australia?

We need much more refrigerator tonnage for apples than for the small amounts of the other fruits which my hon. Friend has mentioned. May I remind him that there has been a strike in the Argentine, a strike in Sydney and a go-slow movement in New Zealand?

But why do we import five times more fruit from the Mediterranean than from New Zealand?