Putting hor­ti­cul­ture’s case to the govern­ment

The Orchardist - - Contents -

Many of the govern­ment’s elec­tion prom­ises are now be­ing ad­dressed by Par­lia­ment and spe­cial work­ing groups.

Re­spond­ing to this, Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand is mak­ing writ­ten sub­mis­sions and ap­pear­ing be­fore Par­lia­men­tary Se­lect Com­mit­tees. We have also sub­mit­ted to and ap­peared be­fore the Tax Work­ing Group. These sub­mis­sions are on our web­site. The govern­ment re­leased its first Bud­get last month, with some im­por­tant mea­sures for hor­ti­cul­ture, but not as many as we would have liked. As we en­gage with govern­ment and make these sub­mis­sions, our fo­cus is on do­ing every­thing we can to cre­ate an en­dur­ing en­vi­ron­ment where you, our levy paying grow­ers, can pros­per. This govern­ment has a strong fo­cus on the en­vi­ron­ment, with ev­ery Min­is­ter, in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter, ex­press­ing con­cern about the ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment and our wa­ter ways. The dairy in­dus­try has come in for crit­i­cism, and hor­ti­cul­ture is be­ing touted by politi­cians as hav­ing good en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic out­comes. Early in June, a pri­mary sec­tor ac­tion plan for wa­ter qual­ity, in­volv­ing the key na­tional in­dus­try good or­gan­i­sa­tions, re­gional coun­cils, and both the Min­is­ters and Min­istries for the En­vi­ron­ment and Pri­mary In­dus­tries, is be­ing launched by En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter David Parker. This ac­tion plan takes the good man­age­ment prin­ci­ples from En­vi­ron­ment Can­ter­bury (ECAN) and, with the agree­ment of the re­gional coun­cils from across the coun­try, ac­cepts those prin­ci­ples as the ba­sis for wa­ter and nu­tri­ent man­age­ment. This a ma­jor win, get­ting the re­gional coun­cils to ac­cept one set of prin­ci­ples. It is also sig­nif­i­cant to get the govern­ment sup­port­ing and recog­nis­ing that the pri­mary sec­tor is work­ing with the re­gional coun­cils to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment. Re­cent data shows while this is the case in ru­ral New Zealand, ur­ban New Zealand re­mains a ma­jor and unchecked pol­luter. The work of Hort NZ’s Nat­u­ral Re­sources and the En­vi­ron­ment team, along with hor­ti­cul­ture’s GAP pro­grammes, are the keys to hor­ti­cul­ture pro­gres­sively meet­ing the ac­tion plan’s goals. The man­age with law. threat our The the en­vi­ron­ment, govern­ment govern­ment has govern­ment has al­ready made stated will is that force that if it we com­pli­ance will do tighten not up the ac­cept­able leach­ing lev­els. To do this, there needs to be ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ment and, the Overseer soft­ware is nei­ther ac­cu­rate nor ap­pro­pri­ate for hor­ti­cul­ture. In the 2018 Bud­get, there was an al­lo­ca­tion of $5 mil­lion for Overseer up­grad­ing and we are work­ing on a bid to get some of this re­search money. This is both good and omi­nous. It is good that there is fund­ing to make Overseer some­what ac­cu­rate, but omi­nous be­cause it can then be­come the ba­sis for en­force­ment ac­tion and an en­vi­ron­ment tax. In this con­text, our oral sub­mis­sion to the Tax Work­ing Group in the com­pany of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers, with both of us rep­re­sent­ing DairyNZ, on all the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with an en­vi­ron­ment tax was very im­por­tant. We spent the time ex­plain­ing the un­re­li­a­bil­ity of Overseer and the fact that it is a model and not a real-time ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ment made it an in­ap­pro­pri­ate tool to base an en­vi­ron­men­tal tax on. Sim­i­larly, we ad­dressed wa­ter and fer­tiliser us­age, ex­plain­ing how these mea­sures are not suit­able on which to base an en­vi­ron­men­tal tax. Our sub­mis­sions are on our web site. These sub­mis­sions are crit­i­cal work to en­able ru­ral New Zealand to feed the na­tion healthy and af­ford­able food with­out tar­geted tax­a­tion and im­pos­si­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal con­straints. In July and early Au­gust, on the six-year cy­cle, you will be asked to re­new Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand’s levy, along with Veg­eta­bles NZ Inc., Process Veg­eta­bles, Onions NZ and Toma­toes NZ levies. Ear­lier this year, the levy ref­er­en­dums for New Zealand Ap­ples & Pears and Pota­toes NZ were held. The com­bined and co-or­di­nated work of all the prod­uct groups and Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand is fo­cused on do­ing all we can for your busi­nesses to thrive and grow. We look for­ward to and thank you for your sup­port – so please vote. To make sure that you can vote con­tact Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand on 0508 467 869 or at [email protected] and please con­tact us with any queries. Also check Pages 6 and 7 in this magazine for more on the Hort NZ Com­mod­ity Levy, and how to vote.

Mike Chap­man is chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ.

“Our fo­cus is on do­ing every­thing we can to cre­ate an en­dur­ing en­vi­ron­ment where you, our levy paying grow­ers, can pros­per.”

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