New Zealand’s Matipou Orchard has been fined NZ$40,000 (US$29,281) after pleading guilty to 10 charges of fraudulent paperwork for exporting apples to Taiwan.
The Hastings District Court has fined the packhouse for false paperwork between 2009 and 2011 after charges were laid against Matipou by New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), according to the NZ Herald.
“Falsifying requests for export certification potentially undermines other apple grower, the wider horticultural industry and New Zealand’s reputation as an exporter,” Steve Ham, central investigations manager of New Zealand’s MPI said. “Any attempt to circumvent New Zealand plant export programmes is very concerning to MPI.”
The packhouse has also lost its registration to export to Taiwan after falsely claiming non-complying apples were certified for export.
"We work very hard to get what are the world's best quality apples into the world's premium markets, and there are certification processes in place, so anything that undermines that integrity is a risk to us," Pipfruit NZ CEO Alan Pollard told the Herald, adding that retracting the packhouse’s registration was a “strong mark against them.”