Here's one apple not going to Russia

John Bostock this week made it onto the National Business Review Rich List. He joined fellow Hawke’s Bay Rich List newcomers Mark & Paul Apatu and David & Jonathan Brownrigg … also legends in the HB agribiz community.

Good news for John.

The bad news is Bostock trying to defend continuing exports of apples to Russia as ‘humanitarian’.

Here’s the statement Bostock NZ released to Newsroom last week when asked about these exports:

“Bostock New Zealand is appalled by the abhorrent behaviour of the Putin regime and does not support the war on Ukraine. Bostock New Zealand backs the supply of humanitarian food shipments to Russia and Ukraine and will continue to monitor the situation and the advice of the New Zealand Government.”

Newsroom went on to report that “Bostock’s move has caused enormous frustration among other growers and exporters who have stopped trading with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.”

To be clear, exporting apples to Russia these days isn’t illegal … just dumb. Yet we’ve all been trained to think that John Bostock was very smart.

On Friday a Bostock NZ spokesperson told BayBuzz a fresh statement was being readied for weekend release and would indicate the company’s future plans. Stay tuned for JB’s re-think! 

Bostock is one of two main apple exporters to Russia. The other, Freshco, pulled out in March when sanctions were announced. The total value of apple (and pear) exports to Russia was $19.8 million in 2020. Freshco valued its Russia exports at US$6 million, a bit over NZ$9 million. That would suggest that the value of Bostock’s exports would be in the same range.

Fresco noted they didn’t get paid for the last apples through to Russia; NZ banks, implementing current financial sanctions, sent the money back!

How badly does the new Rich Lister need the $9-10 million? Surely there must be more deserving places to send humanitarian apples. Maybe North Korea.

C’mon John, you can do better.

Join the Conversation


  1. Indefensible of Bostock we love everything about the brand and it’s products but continuing to export to Russia is shocking and John needs to be named and shamed until he stops. “Humanitarian grounds”: total bullocks. Shame on you John. Get a grip.

  2. Why do we make such a fuss over the Ukraine situation when there was none to be heard over the illegal invasion of Iraq by US,UK and other western govts under the false guise of weapons of mass destruction that UN advisors had stated did not exist there and none were found.
    It is this type of “double standard” our leaders have on issues with other countries that aren’t falling into line with western wishes, wishes which are usually based around increasing economic returns and or resources (usually oil) often under the guise of humanitarian concerns that show the west to be hypocritical in how it views others who may choose, as is their right, to do what they wish in their countries, we would be outraged if some foreign power started to dictate to us how we should live etc and failing to convince us, started clandestine efforts to enact regime (sometimes even democratically elected ones) by our secretive branches like the CIA etc.
    Where were the sanctions against the UK/US over the Iraq invasion? Where where/are the calls for Blair and Bush to face war crimes?
    Madeline Albright former US Secretary of State when asked about the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi civilians including children said, It was worth it. How sick is that yet we all allowed our leaders to say nothing to challenge these rouge western leaders and their clear abuse of power.
    I say good on Putin, whilst the killing is wrong he has taken a stand. Nato has been expanding closer and closer to Russian borders with the patently obvious risk of conflict that would pose, no different in any real way to Kennedys reaction to missiles being placed in Cuba which was in itself, a response to the US placing missiles in Turkey, targeting Russia.
    When Kruschev removed the missiles it was hailed in the west as a win by Kennedy when the reality was Kruschev achieved what he wanted which was Kennedy agreeing to remove the missiles from Turkey yet that side wasn’t really reported as it showed correctly that US provocation had led to Kruschevs initial response.
    We in the west need to question the real whys and wherefores of some of our leaders decisions and sadly our mainsteam media do not sem interested in reporting both sides of a story as the voters would see through a lot of the smoke and mirrors deployed by our leaders.
    Funny that the west doesnt have the stomach for invading a Nuke armed country such as North Korea yet will go into Iraq etc at the drop of a hat, typical bullies is all they are showing themselves to be.
    As was shown in Vietnam, once the publics appetite for something wanes (thanks to the reporting at the time and body bag count coming home) the political will to continue a particular line changes. I believe the same will happen over Ukraine once the general public get sick of the food/fuel shortages and cost increases affecting them and their families directly over the coming months.

  3. Judging how the govt works here in NZ, the decision to be at war was made by the Russian govt, not necessarily the people. I support the Bostock apple exports

    1. The Russian people have and keep Putin in power. I don’t get the comments here saying ‘people in Russia are against the Invasion’. Actually, they’re not not against it, the majority supports the war! Sure they may be brainwashed over decades, but Russia should be boycotted so that their people will want to overthrow their corrupt government. Look at Grosny, Aleppo and now Mariupol, that’s what Putin does to get it his way.

  4. Does our world really need more divisive ‘opinions’? The general population of Russia should not be punished for a war it did not start. Good on Bostock for supplying apples to the Russian people regardless of your shaming opinions.

  5. Darren makes many point worthy of debate, but let’s simplify matters in respect of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. I don’t see how any previous history justifies Putin’s actions. Ukraine, and indeed all the Nato countries, were posing no threat to this autocratic leader. Nato itself is a defensive organisation. Putin himself has ordered an unnecessary invasion resulting in the maiming and deaths of innocent men women and children. The fact that he had autocratic power to do this shows the danger posed by the system of government he has managed to form over many years. The Russian people in general have been denied free access to the world’s media.
    If Ukraine begins to be overwhelmed by Russian forces, I hope Nato’s forces and armour move into Ukraine to drive them out.

  6. People deserve to eat no matter the political leadership … as food producers its like a doctor travelling past an accident and not helping, how could they .. political leadership comes and goes and many of us have limited say, any argument is fueled by two egos … Good on John … don t know him but i do respect his right feed people and respect it, also not sure the rich list is founded or top poppy stuff, but I do now he provides and alot of jobs, and his wholesome food is know and sought worldwide, including Russia, i also know if Bostock which is more than one individual did not export a third party country, (commonly) Angola would buy it for re export to whats left of eastern block … lets get on with feeding hungry mouths and leave the pollys to the politics …

  7. Good on John Bostock he has apples to move on the Russians are not going to throw them at the Ukraine soldiers .John employes alot of people and they need to get paid .so does his operation

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