The parties talk hort:
On behalf of all commercial vegetable and fruit growers, Horticulture New Zealand wrote to all parties represented in Parliament last month asking how they stood on issues affecting growers.
The point was clearly made that horticulture generates more than $5.6 billion in revenue for New Zealand, provides 60,000 jobs, and supports infrastructure in hundreds of rural and regional communities across the country. The industry continues to experience exponential growth, on target to reach $10 billion by 2020; fresh fruit exports alone increased to $2.6b in 2016, up by 35% on 2015.
“This growth cannot be sustained without government support and, with the general election on the horizon, we wish to hear your party’s policies covering key issues of particular importance to the growers and industry we represent, and how they align with our own vision: healthy food for all forever, as outlined in our election manifesto.”
It seemed NZFirst, the Maori Party, ACT and United Future had more important things than a multi-billion dollar industry on their minds. They did not respond. Our request deleted into the ether.
Presented here are the words of those who did respond – National, Labour and the Greens. We asked them about primary production policy, food security, workforce capability, CoOL, healthy eating education and trade. We sent them our election manifesto which is published in this magazine.