Drop the prices!

Your issue of 18 May carried two very ‘bad news’ articles for consumers, namely ‘Poultry under stress despite import duties’ (pg 12) and ‘Subsidised imports hurt potato industry’ (pg 24).

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In both cases organised agriculture wants the government to force consumers to buy at higher prices. The poultry industry continually demands higher import duties and gets them, and now the potato industry is trying to do the same. Is there no one on the side of the consumer?

There is the constant complaint that imports from other countries are government subsidised, that imports are ‘dumped’ here, that imports are brought in illegally and that local prices can’t compete. Why is it that all imports are dumped while our exports are considered to be good business? How is it that agricultural goods are brought into the country from abroad at a fraction of the local price even when taking into account the massive transport costs through some of the most expensive ports? And after punishing import duty?

Is there any difference between direct government farm subsidies and import duties? Both take money out of the consumer’s pocket and put it into that of the farmer’s. There must surely be something wrong when mutton from New Zealand lands here at less than half the local price.

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Likewise with chicken. Although imported goods come in at a low price compared to local goods, by the time they reach the shops, the prices are the same. It is time that consumers make their voices heard. Can anyone tell me where to find some cheap imported mutton or chicken?