This is the last time you will have to endure my ramblings as I step down at the end of this month.
Farewell and thanks
There has always been a willingness to help and contribute when I have asked for it.
I have really enjoyed my time on the board of Horticulture New Zealand. It has broadened my knowledge of the wider industry, allowed me to see some great operations and interact with some fantastic people. There have been highs and lows, successes and disasters but I have always had the knowledge that it’s a great industry of which to be part. Who wouldn’t want to represent and lead an industry that produces such great healthy food? At the November board meeting Barry O’Neil was appointed my successor. I wish Barry and the rest of the team all the best for the future. He and I have spent the last few weeks ensuring that the hand-over will be smooth. It’s largely business as usual but with a different face, style and background knowledge. I have pledged my support and will do everything possible to make Barry’s transition a success.
Barry brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills. He is well known in the kiwifruit industry and has a broad cross-section of contacts across the wider horticulture sector.
The change will be good for Horticulture NZ. Things will be done differently, fresh eyes will see new ways of achieving better outcomes and the organisation will rise to new heights. To the growers, staff, officials, and key stakeholders it has been great working with you and I thank you for your contribution to assist me during my time on the board. There has always been a willingness to help and contribute when I have asked for it. Working together always has been my mantra and I see it the best way of getting difficult things done.
We might not have always agreed on some issues but overall there has been strong consensus on the direction and goals. There are some chewy issues still to be addressed and these things will take time, more debate, further thought and good leadership. Some of these that spring to mind include;
• Climate change and our contribution to reducing our industry’s footprint towards net zero carbon by 2050.
• Gene-editing and the role it will play in our future plant breeding.
• Environmental property plans, monitoring and reporting requirements.
• Growing enough people, equipped with the skills and knowledge to allow the continued growth of our sector.
• Keeping food affordable on the home front while adding value to the export sector.
• Ensuring there’s adequate infrastructure provided by regional and central Government to allow for our continued growth.
• Protection and management of our most productive land for food production.
• Reduction of artificial inputs and finding more sustainable alternatives.
• The encouragement of new investment in intellectual property, technology and science.
• The formation of new alliances and strengthening existing relationships across our industry and the broader rural sector.
So there’s still much to work on at various levels, but I leave in the knowledge we are in good shape and match-fit for the future.
You will still see me around; strangely I enjoy attending conferences and the information gained, the relationships formed and the thought provocations made. Often just getting out from behind the farmgate and seeing what other people are doing is stimulating enough to go home refreshed and willing to try something new.
In closing and my final message to you all, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and prosperous future. Enjoy some valuable time doing nothing in the next few weeks or at least for a day, relaxing with family and friends. For the first time in many years I intend to practice what I preach and will take some time out in January…after the boysenberry harvest!
Cheers and all the best, Julian
President's word Julian Raine | President HortNZ