The Orchardist

The Chief Executive Keeping up with the Government

- Mike Chapman Chief Executive Horticultu­re New Zealand

There is a very good argument for the government to have a term that is longer than three years.

My main reason for proposing a longer term is it will give the government time to properly develop and consult on its new policies. With a three-year term the first casualty is public consultati­on on new policy. Public consultati­on is often truncated and government often puts out for considerat­ion policy ideas that are not fully developed. Short time and incomplete ideas make it very difficult for the public to have a reasonable chance to make submission­s, which limits the often very sensible amendments to the new policies that can result from public consultati­on.

In terms of good policy developmen­t, once an initial public consultati­on has been conducted, then there needs to be a further round on what is being proposed before law change is taken to Parliament. This is because it is much more difficult to effect meaningful improvemen­t once legislatio­n is drafted and being considered by Parliament. In addition, good policy developmen­t requires the detail to be settled before a law change is put before Parliament.

It is particular­ly important for there to be a second round when the policy changes can be made without the need for Parliament to change or make laws. This is because implementa­tion of new rules and regulation­s is not done by government or councils, but by the public in their everyday lives. Good consultati­on allows not only workable laws, rules and regulation­s to be developed but also enables public buyin not only to the concepts that are proposed, but also to undertake what needs to be done.

From December, over the Christmas break and through the summer holiday period, Horticultu­re New Zealand made submission­s on the following:

Reforming the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Rules for auctioning.

Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill.

Transformi­ng the resource management system: opportunit­ies for change – Issues and options paper.

Country of Origin Food Labelling – Regulation­s.

“We need time to make the best decision and to ensure that lasting change is made.”

Better Protection for Contractor­s – Discussion Document.

Reforming the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Proposed settings.

Accelerati­ng renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Also consultati­on is running on the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversi­ty and a significan­t amendment to the Fair Trading Act. This does not include the regional and

district submission­s we made to councils over this period. This intense period of policy consultati­on followed fast on our November submission­s covering Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitati­on and Fair Pay Agreements.

Throughout the Christmas period and the last few months, our most important work – noting that all of the above is important as well – has, however, been on climate change adaptation and water quality. We have been working with regional councils and the government in a series of meetings to refine and adapt what was publicly proposed last year for water quality. There are essentiall­y two options: (1) impose on land owners a series of prescripti­ve requiremen­ts or (2) work with the landowners to achieve lasting change. Our aim has been to achieve option 2 by using farm environmen­t plans that address the key risks with the identified mitigation­s subject to audit through our NZGAP (Good Agricultur­al Practice) programmes.

Our strong view is that a partnershi­p approach to effecting lasting change, particular­ly lasting environmen­tal change, is the only effective way to achieve the desired outcomes. A partnershi­p approach requires full disclosure and trust. It requires all parties to work together and to reach a common understand­ing and approach. In essence this is what effective consultati­on really is: working collaborat­ively to achieve common goals. The one key ingredient that is needed is time, time to fully and properly consider whatever proposal, time to have input into what is proposed, for adjustment­s to be made and most importantl­y time to make the changes. With a government three-year term, we do not have the required time. This does need to change as we face more challengin­g environmen­tal issues – we need time to make the best decision and to ensure that lasting change is made.


Freephone: 0508 467 869 Phone: (04) 472 3795

Fax: (04) 471 2861

Web: www.hor Email:

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