Your Levy at Work
Horticulture New Zealand lodged a submission on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Land Transport Plan 20152025 (2018 Review).The main aim of our submissions on Land Transport Plans is to emphasise to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and to local councils, the importance of resilient and reliable transport networks for horticulture and to support important regional transportation projects that will benefit horticulture. Our submission is on our website www.hortnz.co.nz under Natural Resources.
Submissions on a variation to the Waikato Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1 (PC1)
closed at the end of May. The variation reinstates the area in the north-east of the Waikato River catchment that was withdrawn in November 2016 to enable full consultation with Pare Hauraki, as an impacted iwi. The variation includes some amendments arising from consultation with Pare Hauraki, and also proposes extensions of 20 months to some dates to enable landowners more time, due to the delay. The council received more than 1000 submissions on PC1 when it was notified in 2016 – these remain valid and do not need to be re-lodged. Hort NZ used the opportunity to clarify key points of the original submission and address issues raised by Council and other submitters. Our submission is on our website www.hortnz.co.nz under Natural Resources. The Natural Resources and Environment team welcomed a new manager in May – Michelle Sands now heads the team. Michelle has a strong background and experience working in the natural resources and environment area, is an expert water quality and hydrology practitioner, and will complement the team’s expertise and further increase its overall impact. She is based in the Wellington office.
With a packed legislative agenda by the government, Horticulture New Zealand has been busy on both written submissions, and speaking to them before Parliamentary Select Committees. The idea of backing up a written submission by appearing before the relevant select committee is to make a stronger case, and be able to clear up any confusion and answer questions.
We made a written submission to the Tax Working Group on the Future of Tax. This submission is endorsed and supported by a further 17 organisations, including Beef + Lamb New Zealand Limited. In the submission we noted that we have read and support the submissions made by Dairy New Zealand Limited, Federated Farmers of New Zealand Incorporated and Irrigation New Zealand Incorporated. All the primary industry sector groups feel we need to be heard on changes to the tax system which we believe is already simple, efficient and fair, and doesn’t need tinkering with. Mike Chapman also met with the Tax Working Group in May, along with Federated Farmers and Dairy New Zealand, to further submit on the issues with land, environmental and capital taxes. Hort NZ will continue to advocate for growers and speak out against taxes that will add costs to healthy food and potentially, threaten its availability. The submission is on our website www.hortnz.co.nz under Grower Support.
In May, Horticulture New Zealand spoke to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee about its written submission
“Hort NZ will continue to advocate for growers and speak out against taxes that will add costs to healthy food and potentially, threaten its availability.”
on the Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill. That written submission is endorsed and supported by a further 18 organisations. On behalf of Balle Bros, Brendan Balle joined Hort NZ to speak to the select committee, giving a grower’s perspective on why we are asking for a Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) exemption for off-road vehicles and machinery – that never use the road system and therefore, shouldn’t have to pay for it. He also pointed out that with the RFT, Auckland growers would be at a disadvantage to their competitors from outside Auckland who didn’t have to pay RFT. Hort NZ contends that as the Bill stands, it is likely to add costs to fresh fruit and vegetables for consumers as such costs need to be passed on if a business cannot absorb them. We issued a press release, Mike Chapman wrote a blog, and there was media coverage of the submission.
Hort NZ also submitted on Auckland Council’s Draft Regional Fuel Tax and Regional Land Transport Plan. Both fuel tax submissions are on our website www.hortnz.co.nz under Grower Support.
Horticulture New Zealand made a submission on the Employment Relations (Triangular Relationships)
Amendment Bill, saying it did not support the Bill, did not think it should proceed, and that the current protections in New Zealand law provide workers’ protection. This Bill is particularly relevant to horticulture given the nature of seasonal work and the use of contractors to manage seasonal workers. Hort NZ said the Bill has the effect of making a labour hire company’s workers employees of the client who had contracted the labour hire company to supply labour, with all the responsibilities that such a relationship entails. It creates far more problems than it solves and will add costs that must be passed on to consumers. This submission is further to Horticulture New Zealand’s submission on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill. Both Bills make a big push for union membership and set conditions that deny the flexibility required in horticulture. The submissions are available on our website www.hortnz.co.nz under Grower Support. Mike Chapman and Eve Williams appeared before the Education and Workforce Select Committee to speak to the Employment Relations Amendment Bill. We are concerned about the push to unionise workplaces and Mike subsequently wrote a blog: Unionisation Bill – Nine Reasons Why Not, available on our website www.hortnz.co.nz Mike’s Blog.