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Labor must sweeten “major win” for Manuka Honey producers

Australian Manuka Honey Association (AHMA) is celebrating a sweet win as New Zealand Manuka Honey Appellation Society (NZMHAS) backs out of an appeal over naming rights before the United Kingdom High Court and similar legal action in the European Union.
This decision from New Zealand is great news for the thousands of Australian Manuka Honey producers who can continue to sell their product under the globally recognised name ‘Manuka’ in these trade markets.
The battle isn’t over yet, with AMHA still awaiting the outcome of a case before the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office in an attempt from NZMHAS to trademark the words ‘Manuka Honey’ on foreign product sold in New Zealand.
Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said he was pleased to have been part of a Coalition government that stood up in the fight for our Australian Manuka Honey producers.
“The Coalition government contributed limited funding towards the AMHA’s reasonable legal costs, through the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Finance Assistance administered by the Attorney-General’s Department, for proceedings relating to its ongoing trademark dispute,” Mr Littleproud said.
Mr Littleproud welcomed the win over New Zealand producers in Europe and the UK, but said the Labor Government and in particular Agriculture Minister Murray Watt had a role to play in supporting our home grown Manuka Honey farmers over their Trans-Tasman rivals.
“The Labor government should now be doing everything possible to promote and support the Australian Manuka Honey industry, especially during trade talks with the EU and UK.”
The EU and UK Free Trade agreements are due to be ratified within two years.
“The Australian Manuka Honey industry is incredibly important to our country and plays an important role in the agriculture sector.
“Across the country there are more than 30,000 registered beekeepers, producing a total of 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of honey each year, generating more than $147 million per annum.”
Chairman of the Manuka Honey Association Paul Callander said the association greatly appreciated support from the Australian government over the past five years in defending the rights of the Australian Manuka Honey industry.
“The fact the New Zealand group has withdrawn their application in the UK High Court and Europe is a major win for us,” Mr Callander said.
“The leptospermum plant is found in both NZ and Australia and we have every right to sell this product under the name ‘Manuka’.
“It is a shame that the New Zealand group, who is attempting this trademark, has continued to rebuff Australia’s request for collaboration, but we remain open to discussions.”


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