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.