​Media Release

Quick action means tasty Aussie melons back on NZ menu​

14 June 2017

  • In April this year New Zealand suspended imports of rockmelons and honeydew melons from Australia treated with dimethoate.
  • Thanks to quick action by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resource, melon industry, treatment providers and the New Zealand authorities, this issue is now resolved.
  • Trade in melons from pest free areas was not affected by the temporary cessation.

Australian melon growers can again have confidence in secure market access for honeydew and rockmelons, following the end of a temporary import suspension by New Zealand.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said quick work to resolve New Zealand concerns about the dimethoate treatment applied to Australian melons has helped to safeguard the future of the $5 million trade.

“I am pleased that the melon industry, treatment providers, along with my department and New Zealand authorities, have resolved any issues so that our growers can continue to provide consumers across the ditch with great tasting melons,” Minister Joyce said.

“Just as we expect other countries to respect our biosecurity conditions, so must we respect theirs when we seek to export our agricultural products.

“It’s important to remember that, although New Zealand put a temporary suspension on imports of rockmelons and honeydew melons from Australia treated with dimethoate, the trade in melons to New Zealand was able to continue from areas free of fruit fly.

“That said, if this issue had not been resolved before the main melon export season commences in September it could have had a greater impact on growers’ ability to export and in turn, hurt their profits.

“I am pleased that a sensible solution has been agreed in time for growers to take advantage of this key market this coming season.”

Mr Littleproud said the melon industry was synonymous with his electorate and important to the local economy.

“I raised this issue with the Deputy Prime Minister when it was first apparent and asked for all the stops to be pulled out,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Today, I’m pleased to see that our melon producers, and those across the country, can choose from a range of options if exporting to New Zealand, especially for those producing outside a pest free area.”

Fast Facts:

  • In 2015-16 Australia exported $5 million of melons (other than watermelons) to New Zealand.
  • Queensland growers generated about $4.6 million of that trade.