Biosecurity special general meeting
In September 2009, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced a new approach to preparing for and managing new pests and diseases that might arrive in New Zealand.
MPI advised that a new partnership approach would be developed for biosecurity readiness and response. This new approach known as the Government Industry Agreement (GIA), has been approved by Cabinet and been formalised with changes to the Biosecurity Act 1993.
Industry Product Groups (PGs) are now being asked to sign the GIA Deed to formalise the arrangement. By December 2016, 14 industry partners had signed the GIA Deed including Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Apples & Pears Inc., NZ Avocados, Citrus NZ, Tomatoes NZ, Onions NZ Inc., Vegetables NZ Inc., and Potatoes NZ Inc.
The Process Vegetables New Zealand (PVNZ) Board has reviewed and assessed the options for process vegetable growers and strongly believes that it is in the best interests of all for Process Vegetables NZ members to become a partner in GIA. The GIA Deed and any Operational Agreements will clarify the roles, responsibilities and costs for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and PVNZ.
For that to happen, PVNZ is seeking support for Horticulture New Zealand to be the signatory of the GIA Deed on behalf of process vegetable growers and will be holding a special general meeting at the South Rakaia Hotel (Corner of Railway Terrace East & Elizabeth Avenue, Rakaia) on November 23 at 7.30pm.
Voting papers and information packs have also been sent to all Process Vegetables NZ members either by post or electronically during the week commencing October 24, 2017 for those who wish to attend the special meeting, or to submit a postal vote or cast a vote by proxy. The three motions for voting are:
1. That Process Vegetables New Zealand (PVNZ) members support the signing of a Government Industry Agreement Deed (“GIA”) by Horticulture New Zealand for PVNZ on behalf of its members.
2. Process Vegetable New Zealand members support the proposal for a separate biosecurity levy, to be set by the PVNZ Board at its discretion, which will initially be set at a zero rate with a maximum rate of 0.50% of grower “gate sales” value, for the application of GIA readiness and responses expenditure, and only applied if required.
3. That Process Vegetables New Zealand members support and approve the PVNZ Board making decisions on behalf of members in respect of negotiating and signing Operational Agreements as may be required under the GIA and authorising payment of other related biosecurity expenses.
With the support of the PVNZ growers, Horticulture New Zealand will sign the GIA Deed on behalf of PVNZ and this will enable PVNZ’s participation in decision making discussions with government and other affected Product Groups to determine:
• how future biosecurity readiness work should be prioritised
• which biosecurity responses the PVNZ industry will participate in
• what share of readiness and response costs PVNZ would pay.
The signing of the GIA Deed will also allow:
• The establishment of a biosecurity levy to enable PVNZ to manage their readiness and response costs when required.
• A proposed biosecurity levy that would be set at a zero rate until such time as needed and with a maximum rate of 0.50% of the grower gate sales value.
• A fiscal cap is the financial limit that PVNZ would pay on any one or more
responses and that limit would be determined by the PVNZ Board. • PVNZ will pay their industry share of biosecurity costs from either the biosecurity or commodity levy.
Under GIA, government and industry product groups sign a Deed which commits both parties to joint planning, decision making and joint cost sharing. This partnership based approach will mean that there is more certainty that high priority pests will be found and responded to in an appropriate timeframe. The preparation work done in advance would mean that response decisions on key pests are pre-agreed. Improving preparedness for priority pests will result in faster, more efficient and more successful responses.
Once industry groups and government have signed the GIA Deed, they then enter into discussions about Operational Agreements for specific pests. It is not a requirement to have an Operational Agreement (OA) but these are the documents that outline what preparedness and response activities will be undertaken and how they will be funded. There is currently an OA in place for four species of fruit fly of greatest economic concern to the New Zealand industry, but as PVNZ is not an affected party under the Fruit Fly OA it will not be required to provide funding towards any related readiness or response costs.
A key advantage of GIA is that PGs have joint decision making powers alongside MPI and other signatories. Currently, because MPI is funding the activities, it can consult with industry but it makes the final decisions. Joint decision making is the trade-off for cost sharing but is a key advantage in the GIA system. Biosecurity response decisions will be made by GIA partners, of which MPI is just one signatory. PVNZ will fund readiness or responses through established reserves and it is intended that those costs will be recovered through a biosecurity or commodity levy depending on the amount. Establishing and implementing the biosecurity levy provides assurance that even in the unlikely event of a significant response that PVNZ has a means to fund response activity. Where PVNZ borrows to fund a response the biosecurity levy will be used to repay the loan over a period of time. Any response is expected to be repaid by levy within five years. The rate of loan repayment would be determined on a case-by-case basis. The levy rate will apply across all process vegetable crops regardless of the specific nature of the incursion.
In addition to meeting minimum commitments, it is likely that over time, PVNZ will sign an Operational Agreement
(OA) with MPI. This OA will likely be for pests which, if they arrive in New Zealand, are going to have a serious impact on members’ continued financial viability. These include pests such as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
(BMSB), however in this particular case over 90% of the BMSB OA response cost would be borne by the Crown and the 10% balance would be apportioned across all of the PGs.
The PVNZ Board considers that signing the Deed is important to mitigate biosecurity risks and to ensure there is a greater influence within the MPI decision making process. This information is another key step in consulting with members on signing the GIA Deed and after the special meeting the PVNZ general manager will provide feedback to all members on the outcomes.
If you have any questions or would like more information please contact John Seymour at John.seymour@ hortnz.co.nz or phone 0508 467 869. More information is also available on the PVNZ website www. processvegetables.co.nz, and on the GIA website www.gia.org.nz.