Friday 13 November 2015

Australian potato wars

Remember the Manitoba potato wars, in which the ruling government-backed cartel banned anybody from selling potatoes grown in their garden?

Looks like West Australia is also crazy. 
Tony Galati, owner of Spudshed – a growing chain of discount greengrocers in Perth – and the man given the unlikely moniker of “rebel potato grower”, has been in and out of court with Western Australia’s potato regulator, the Potato Marketing Corporation (PMC), for the past five years.

On Wednesday, supreme court judge Paul Tottle granted the PMC an injunction against Galati. He has been ordered not to sell or otherwise distribute potatoes in excess of his official quota, which is set by the PMC and based on the estimated domestic demand for potatoes in any given quarter.
Galati has previously said he’s prepared to go to jail for contempt of court rather than deny his customers cheap spuds. He stopped short on Wednesday of explicitly saying he would defy the court order, but admitted his next steps could “possibly” land him in jail.

“The thing is we are in 2015,” he said. “The present government should be absolutely embarrassed to drive us to the supreme court to get an injunction to try and stop us growing potatoes to be competitive in this state. I can’t believe it.”

Both the ruling Liberal party and the opposition in WA have promised to deregulate the potato industry after the 2017 election. In light of those plans, Galati said, it makes no sense to take court action against him now.
Read the whole thing and weep.

Whenever somebody proposes regulatory harmonization with Australia as solution to anything, remember that Australia is barking mad.

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