§ 27. Mr. Langford-Holt
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the fact that since 1951 meat imports from New Zealand have increased by only 30 per cent. whereas imports from the Argentine have increased by 328 per cent. in the same period, what action he proposes to take in this connection.
I do not consider that the figures my hon. Friend quotes necessarily indicate a need for a change in Government policy in this field. Compared with pre-war, imports of meat from New Zealand have increased by 35 per cent. while those from the Argentine have decreased by 26 per cent.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Is my right hon. Friend in a position to say what are the views of the New Zealand Government, and whether they have made a communication to him upon this matter? Is he further aware that everybody—including himself, I hope—would wish that the imports of New Zealand meat, so far from being ten times less than those of the Argentine, were ten times more?
I think that I am speaking for the whole House when I say that we value very highly our present trading relations with New Zealand and are very anxious to do everything we can to see that they are not impaired in any way in the future. As regards the first part of the supplementary question, I expect quite shortly to be in possession of the New Zealand Government's views.
Mr. T. Williams
Is it not the case that no form of restriction has been applied to imports of meat from New Zealand?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can tell me whether I am right in thinking that New Zealand is a better customer of this country than the Argentine. If so, ought not New Zealand to receive more consideration than the Argentine?
New Zealand is a very good customer of this country but, as the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has reminded the House, we give New Zealand a completely open market for meat, and it is free of any duty. Duty is applicable to many types of meat coming from other non-Commonwealth countries.