Your Levy at Work
The need to secure valuable horticulture growing land via a New Zealand food security policy has had a high profile in media in the past month and is an issue Hort NZ will be taking up with the new government. Hort NZ chief executive Mike Chapman has done a number of interviews on TV, radio and in print, emphasising Pukekohe in particular as an area that needs urgent attention before we pave all of paradise.
The Natural Resources and Environment team has been busy in Northland, with policy advisor Lucy Deverall, and Hort NZ consultants Vance Hodgson and Lynette Wharfe, and Brad Siebert from NZ Avocado meeting with growers to discuss issues to inform the Hort NZ submission on the Northland Regional Council’s Regional Plan, which covers a range of issues from water quality, to water takes, use of water, agrichemical use, and land disturbance.
Growers’ workshops were also held in Blenheim to discuss the Marlborough District Council’s Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan, and in Canterbury to discuss the Waimakariri District Plan review.
The Tribunal considering the Ngaruroro River and Clive River Water Conservation Order (WCO) has decided to have two hearings. The upper river hearing will be heard from 14 November to 14 December, and the lower will be heard in May 2018. The tribunal will issue one decision once both hearings have concluded. Horticulture New Zealand and other parties raised a jurisdictional issue with the groundwater, and this will likely mean there is wider notification for the lower river hearing process. Hort NZ is preparing a legal submission and industry statement for the upper river hearing. Our main focus will be on the lower river hearing, where we will submit substantive evidence to support our opposition to the WCO below the Whanawhana Cableway.
Auckland Council has notified Proposed Plan Change 4. This is an administrative plan change that deals with technical errors and anomalies within the existing Auckland Unitary Plan (operative in part). Auckland Council agreed to address Horticulture New Zealand’s appeal on the definition of buildings and yards in this plan change. We are reviewing the plan change to ensure those matters, and any others, have been met sufficiently.
Horticulture New Zealand has put together an update on new Accommodation Standard Legal Requirements. The full update is available on the Horticulture New Zealand website.
Mark 23 – 25 July 2018 in your calendars for the 2018 Horticulture Conference, which will be held at the Airforce Museum, Wigram, Christchurch. The theme of the conference is Our food story. Watch out for more information in the new year.
A decade has passed since the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was launched to help encourage us all to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and it celebrated its 10 years last month. The message is simple – eat at least five servings each day to help maintain good health – but one which requires ongoing promotion and education to ensure New Zealanders of all ages understand the importance of healthy eating. At Hort NZ we are conscious that our big connect with the public to ensure ongoing “licence to farm” is promoting healthy food, and our vision is “Healthy food for all forever”.
Last month, Hort NZ president Julian Raine, chief executive Mike Chapman, Natural Resources and Environment manager Angela Halliday and communications manager Josie Vidal visited vegetable growers in Invercargill. Josie and Angela went on to Ettrick to see fruit
grower Stephen Darling. Hort NZ is conscious of getting out and about to see as many growers as we can each year to ensure we are on top of local and national issues concerning growers and where opportunities exist that could be developed. The Invercargill visits were to Drysdale Hydroponics, Southern Cross Produce and Pyper’s Produce.
Pukekohe growers were also on the visiting schedule with Julian Raine and Mike Chapman attending the Onions New Zealand Board meeting, AGM and dinner, and Hort NZ director Mike Smith and Mike Chapman attending a Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) meeting. Communications manager Josie Vidal caught up with fine culinary herb grower Jeanette Rae and onions, potatoes and kiwifruit grower Peter Reynolds. Jeanette is working with a local school to help them set up a vegetable garden that can get NZ GAP certification. Josie got a glimpse at the fascinating history of the Reynolds family, who have been connected with the land in Pukekohe
since William Henry Reynolds landed in New Zealand with his family from County Monaghan in Ireland, via the ship Ganges in 1865. With the PVGA centenary coming up next year, there will be lots of opportunities to share the history of growers in this area which will be of great interest to the public.
Horticulture New Zealand has launched a pan-industry Instagram page – Growers of New Zealand (@ growersofnz), aiming to show the real faces of the people who grow New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetables, their commitment to supplying this food, and demonstrate what can be done with their delicious, healthy produce when it arrives in your kitchen.This is a new and important social media channel for Hort NZ as it connects us, and our growers, to the wider public and in particular, foodies, chefs, bloggers and people who generally influence the public around food.
Dr Anna Rathe has joined the Hort NZ biosecurity team. Anna comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), where she worked on biosecurity responses, and on preparing for brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Anna has a strong science background in invasive species, and will be working closely with others across industry and government on biosecurity readiness activities.
Hort NZ, as an observer to the Government Industry Agreement (GIA), has attended the GIA Deed Governance Group meeting.
A range of topics was covered including the future strategy for GIA and reviewing the GIA partnership corporate needs, including the future of the Secretariat, once the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) funding runs out in December 2019.
The response to Pea Weevil in the Wairarapa is getting underway again for the season. This is the second year of a ban on growing peas, aimed at eradicating pea weevil and allowing a full return to growing by 2018. Activity in the pea weevil response has picked up, with 20 trap crops (seven more than last season) to be planted in key locations around the Wairarapa. These new crops will be planted closer to urban areas and, to extend coverage, sucker traps (which operate like large vacuum cleaners) will be operating soon. Pea weevil only feeds on peas, and therefore no peas = no weevils. If you see, or know of, any peas growing in the Wairarapa area, please call the MPI Pest and Disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
Hort NZ, along with fruit fly operational agreement signatories, attended a Fruit Fly Council meeting. The council is getting down to delivery of the strategy and objectives and agreed to develop a joint technical working group with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Council.
Hort NZ continues to champion the benefits of free trade; the necessity for New Zealand to have a global outlook, and a liberal and engaging approach to trade, has never been more necessary, not just to make gains from lower tariffs (as the TPP 11 would do), but to integrate our expertise, capital, and intellectual property into global supply chains and realise the opportunity. Hort NZ will work closely with the new government, industry groups, and organisations to ensure our voice on this matter is heard.
At Pyper’s Produce, from left to right, Brendan Hamilton from Pyper’s Produce, Mike Chapman from Horticulture New Zealand, Brent Lamb from Pyper’s Produce, Angela Halliday and Julian Raine from HortNZ. At Drysdale Hydroponics, from left to right –...
Stephen Darling in his orchard.