HC Deb 19 January 1971 vol 809 cc699-700
6. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek to pay an official visit to New Zealand.

Mr. Prior

I have no plans to do so at present.

Mr. Marten

With regard to our new levies on New Zealand lamb, will those levies be borne ultimately by the British housewife or by the New Zealand sheep farmer? When I was in New Zealand last week, I found that there was a lot of confusion about who would bear the final cost.

Mr. Prior

The talks going on between ourselves and the New Zealand Government are confidential. We shall make an announcement about that as soon as we can. The objective of the levies is to raise the market price internally and thus to reduce the deficiency payment, which in turn will enable the Government to reduce income tax and other taxes.

Mr. Wellbeloved

Is not it clear that the Minister intends to impose a meat tax on the British housewife by a system of levies which will be imposed without any of the benefits of entering the Common Market? Is he not jumping the gun on this issue?

Mr. Prior

It is the hon. Gentleman who is jumping the gun. He had better wait.