Your Levy at Work
The process around the Water Conservation Order (WCO) on the Ngaruroro River and Clive River in Hawke’s Bay has generated a lot of publicity, with growers in the area voicing their concerns. Horticulture New Zealand has made a submission to the WCO assessment tribunal, which is available on our website.We are working on the next step of the process, gathering expert scientific and economic evidence to support the submission. As this is a process under the Resource Management Act, the best way to influence its outcome is through a strong scientific argument against parts of the proposed application. We are also working with other primary industry groups and affected parties to ensure a unified approach.
Hort NZ held its inaugural Environmental Ambassadors’ Day in Wellington. Along with the appointment of our two planners as permanent employees, strengthening the ambassador network will ensure that we can deliver the best possible RMA service for growers across the country. Lucy Deverall and Rachel McClung are the two planners joining the Natural Resources and Environment team at Hort NZ. Lucy will be working from Auckland and covering most of the North Island processes, while Rachel is based in Christchurch and will cover the South Island. Both advisors are based away from the main Hort NZ HQ, so they can be on the spot and work closely with growers and councils during district and regional planning processes in their areas.
Hort NZ has submitted comments on the Tasman District Council’s Tasman Electricity Transmission discussion document about potential future changes for rules around electricity transmission lines. Our feedback to the council can be accessed on our website.
The 2018 dates for the fruit side of Young Grower of the Year competition have been set as follows:
• Bay of Plenty: February 10 & 15 (evening function)
• Central Otago: May 25
• Hawke’s Bay: June 28 & 29 (evening function)
• Nelson: July 6
• Young Grower Final (Napier): August 22
The Young Vegetable Grower Competition will be in Christchurch, and we will update you once the dates are set.
A Women in Horticulture: where to from here? workshop was held at the Horticulture New Zealand offices in Wellington in September. The group talked about how to develop a strategy and network for this initiative and what some possible development programmes could be to ensure good career paths for women in horticulture.
During the election campaign, Prime Minister Bill English and his entourage paid visits to two growing operations – Balle Bros in Pukekohe and Woodhaven Gardens in Levin. He made a trade announcement at Balle Bros and the National Party announced a $20 million fund called The Future of Farming at Woodhaven, which will come into play if National is able to form the next government.
Hort NZ spoke out against the Labour Party’s proposed water tax, from the day it was announced on August 9, 2017. We issued five media releases, chief executive Mike Chapman wrote five blogs about the proposed policy, and Mike also did a number of media interviews. Hort NZ worked with other primary sector organisations to issue information to the public making it clear that the water tax was not a solution to “cleaning up waterways” and it was unfairly pitched at some water users. To apply the tax any government will first need to determine who owns water. At the time this magazine went to publication a new government was not formed. If the incoming government wants to pursue a water tax on growers, Hort NZ will continue to advocate through the policy process.
The election campaign highlighted the need to better explain to the urban sector who the people that grow their fresh fruit and vegetables are, and what goes into getting that produce to the shops and onto their plates. So we have started an Instagram page (#GrowersOfNZ) to engage with foodies and the wider public. The foodies have been quick on the uptake and we’ve already had conversations about engaging more with them. Each week a grower will be profiled at work,
and the seasonal crop they have been working on will be highlighted in a recipe. The recipes are particularly popular.
Hort NZ is currently producing a Vegetable Washwater Discharge Code of Practice which contains a checklist, decision tree, and reference values to self-audit, to assist growers in determining if your discharge of vegetable washwater meets good practice. The draft document is on our website and this will be replaced with the final version once it is released.
Following the Immigration and Employment Law Workshop held in Cambridge in September, Hort NZ has drafted a supplementary information document, explaining paid rest breaks and piece rates, zero-hour contracts, and payment of public/statutory holidays for casual staff. The document is available on the HortNZ website.
In the past year, NZGAP has implemented a number of new programmes and there has been an increase in the number of NZGAP certificate holders. Full details are in the Activity Report 2017 on the NZGAP website ( www.nzgap.co.nz). NZGAP presented to growers and QA managers in Pukekohe in September, speaking about programme development over the past 12 months, and updating growers on the newly benchmarked NZGAP GLOBALG.A.P Equivalent programme and the Environment Management System (EMS) add-on, which will help growers meet future regional council and market requirements alongside their usual NZGAP audit. Growers and contractors can sign up for GRASP via the NZGAP website to gain access to guidance and templates which will help them meet the standard for this coming season.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between KVH and Horticulture New Zealand to improve biosecurity for growers was finalised at the end of August. The MOU will ensure the kiwifruit industry achieves better biosecurity, with Hort NZ providing support for KVH in Wellington-based activities and access to a wider support network.
Hort NZ hosted a brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) response workshop with the Ministry for Primary Industries and industry. The workshop started with presentations from top US researchers Anne Neilsen, Tracy Leskey, and Kim Hoelmer talking about BMSB biology, integrated pest management, and biocontrol options such as the samurai wasp. Members of the BMSB Council will continue to refine the eradication options for a response and will aim to test aspects of this in Chile in October.
The risk season for brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is upon us once again. Members of the BMSB Council continue to work on the public awareness campaign and on readiness activities, especially response planning. Early detection of BMSB is crucial in eradication attempts, and to prevent significant losses to horticultural production. If you see any bugs that look like BMSB, remember to ‘Catch it, Snap it, and Report it’. MPI’s Pest and Disease Hotline can be reached at 0800 80 99 66.
Asiafruit Logistica 2017 saw a record sized trade show, now into two halls at the Asiaworld Expo in Hong Kong. All of the New Zealand stands were very busy throughout, with exhibitors connecting with existing customers and attracting new ones. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) hosted an excellent breakfast event, which together with a guest speaker on China, also saw the regional NZTE staff speak briefly about their markets: Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Brexit, and the ramifications of that process, continue to be discussed between the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and primary sector groups. The objective for New Zealand is to avoid loss of market access, and the opportunity is there to encourage UK policy makers to adopt a more liberal approach to agricultural trade. If you are travelling to the UK and want to know more, or have returned from a recent visit and have gained any insights into UK farmers’ consideration on this issue, please contact Richard Palmer at Hort NZ.
During the election campaign Prime Minister Bill English and his entourage visited two growing operations, one in Pukekohe and the other in Levin.