Pres­i­dent’s Word

The Orchardist - - Contents - By Ju­lian Raine

Biose­cu­rity is ev­ery­one's job

It’s hard to be­lieve that Christ­mas is only a few weeks away. Where has 2013 gone? Look­ing around our or­chards and berryfruit gar­dens the crop has come on nicely with a good bud­break in the spring. Fruit set was con­sis­tent and evenly spread across trees, vines and bushes. Size has been a bit chal­leng­ing with a cool pe­riod at the end of Oc­to­ber slow­ing cell di­vi­sion at a crit­i­cal time. Our boy­sen­berry har­vest will start in a few days.

Har­vest is just around the cor­ner for many other grow­ers in­volved in sum­mer­fruit and berryfruit. I have al­ready en­joyed the new sea­son straw­ber­ries, pota­toes, av­o­ca­dos and as­para­gus. We don’t do enough to cel­e­brate the chang­ing sea­sons and con­sumers just ex­pect to see all pro­duce avail­able year round. It is a chal­lenge for grow­ers and for ad­vo­cates of 5+ A Day to re­con­nect con­sumers with their food and the pro­duc­tion of it.

How have I been spend­ing my time since be­ing ap­pointed Pres­i­dent in July?

I have spent quite a bit of time ex­pand­ing my knowl­edge of all the 22 prod­uct groups and vis­it­ing a num­ber of dis­trict as­so­ci­a­tions. Peter Sil­cock and I vis­ited Otago and Auck­land in Novem­ber. It is great to get out and meet grow­ers on their patch. There is still a lot more work to do here and I will try to get along to see as many grow­ers as I can, whether it’s at your place or at grower meet­ings. I have also been meet­ing with other in­dus­try lead­ers, var­i­ous politi­cians and of­fi­cials. For me as your new Pres­i­dent, it takes time to build th­ese key re­la­tion­ships, net­works and con­tacts.

Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand as the peak or­gan­i­sa­tion for the hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try needs to have good re­la­tion­ships with a breadth of politi­cians, pol­icy mak­ers, in­flu­encers and of­fi­cials. In my pre­sen­ta­tions and speeches to date I have pushed our case on a num­ber of key fronts. Th­ese in­clude sup­port­ing changes to the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA) that sim­plify and re­duce costs, rais­ing the cap on Recog­nised Sea­sonal Em­ployer (RSE) num­bers, en­sur­ing New Zealand’s biose­cu­rity sys­tem con­tin­ues to im­prove and that manda­tory coun­try of ori­gin la­belling (CoOL) is in­tro­duced. For those of you who use so­cial me­dia please “like” the CoOL Face­book page.

I need to change the em­pha­sis of biose­cu­rity be­ing just a gov­ern­ment is­sue to that of a New Zealand is­sue. An­drew Fen­ton did an ex­cel­lent job of keep­ing this in the pub­lic eye in 2012. How­ever ev­ery New Zealan­der needs to play their part in en­sur­ing biose­cu­rity is taken se­ri­ously not just at our bor­der but within re­gions and dis­tricts. Ki­wifruit grow­ers know this too well as Psa has high­lighted how quickly an in­cur­sion can spread with­out good prac­tises in place. The move­ment of plant ma­te­rial, equip­ment, ma­te­ri­als and peo­ple all con­trib­ute to the rapid spread of un­wanted or­gan­isms. Ev­ery­one must do their bit to be aware of biose­cu­rity dan­gers. If you see or hear peo­ple putting New Zealand at risk please speak up and be counted. Take a stand against this and as a last re­sort re­port them to of­fi­cials at the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI). Why does Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand ex­ist?

How do we pri­ori­tise our re­sources and de­liver a bet­ter re­turn to the 5,500 grower fun­ders?

The Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand board asked it­self th­ese ques­tions last Novem­ber and the Fu­ture Fo­cus project was born.

Fu­ture Fo­cus has taken a great deal of at­ten­tion of the HortNZ man­age­ment and board. It’s hard to be­lieve we have spent 12 months on this project. I would like to thank all those who have con­trib­uted. There is still more work to do and we hope to have our five-year strate­gic plan signed off in April 2014. In the fu­ture we will re­port against the key per­for­mance ob­jec­tives in the plan. In this we can judge whether we are de­liv­er­ing good value for money in a more trans­par­ent way.

For those of you who haven’t read about Fu­ture Fo­cus, to re­cap, the ob­jec­tives were “To en­sure that Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ is ef­fec­tively rep­re­sent­ing grow­ers on in­dus­try wide is­sues; that it is spend­ing its funds for the ben­e­fits to grow­ers...” To put it another way, we needed to re­de­fine our strate­gic ob­jec­tives and then align our re­sources with the key ar­eas of de­mand. In do­ing this HortNZ has asked for help to pri­ori­tise its var­i­ous roles. We have taken into ac­count sub­mis­sions, in­ter­views and feed­back from var­i­ous sources in­clud­ing prod­uct groups, dis­trict as­so­ci­a­tions and in­di­vid­ual mem­bers.

On be­half of Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand staff, man­age­ment and board mem­bers, I hope you, your fam­i­lies and staff have a Merry Christ­mas and a pros­per­ous New Year.

We should also re­mem­ber that it’s im­por­tant that HortNZ pro­vides the foun­da­tion or over-arch­ing frame­work so that the in­di­vid­ual prod­uct groups can de­liver on the In­dus­try Vi­sion of be­ing a $10 Bil­lion In­dus­try by 2020.

Next year I in­tend to con­tinue to use this col­umn to pro­file other hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try lead­ers, in­clud­ing board mem­bers, prod­uct group and dis­trict as­so­ci­a­tion chairs. This is a very use­ful way of not only show­cas­ing the per­son but also par­tic­u­lar topics that are of in­dus­try wide in­ter­est.

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