Dec 19 2017

Monthly Update December 2017

Growing is not about starships

 You know the value of your contribution to this country’s economy. But many people do not.

 This lack of basic knowledge about horticulture is obvious when  the media and some consumers virtually implode over the perceived ‘high’ price of produce at certain times of year – particularly after rubbish weather. Vegetables, they seem to think, are beamed down from a benevolent starship and shouldn’t cost anything.

This is why it is crucial we tell your story.  Getting on with the job of growing is your job; but it is our job as your product group to take up arms and tell the new government what it must know about you and your needs as a grower - biosecurity and pest control, to energy, labour, land pressures, health and safety and compliance. 

That’s what you elected us to do, and that is what we are doing right now. Please take a few mninutes aside and help us help you by taking part in surveys coming your way; it is crucial to your interests as  growers.

To put your case to the new government we need facts – not starship fantasies. And only you can give us those facts.  We want to put firm numbers on the value to our country of your industry  – particularly about biosecurity practises and your energy use.

So  that’s it in a nutshell.  Here’s some more detail:



Heated greenhouse growers by now already know now that the pressure is on to reduce the use of coal and gas.

The price of carbon (NZ Units) will almost certainly rise (the unit price has already risen by $1 since the election), so the pressure is on.

Could you please help us work on your behalf by telling us how you use energy. Check your emails for the survey.

This includes fresh tomato growers and other covered crop growers. With your input we can create an updated carbon footprint for the sector, and  demonstrate the impact of climate change policies on you as greenhouse growers and businesses.  This valuable information will help us advocate to maintain your competitiveness and for support with research, new technology development and finding viable heating alternatives in the long term.

It was 2008 since you last helped us with this, and a lot has changed since then.

All this is necessary because, during a Climate Conference in Bonn (COP23) last month, Minister for Climate Change Issues James Shaw highlighted the new government’s intention to have New Zealand become a “net zero-emissions economy” by 2050. 

The government’s plans include planting 1 billion trees over 10 years; establishing an independent Climate Commission to set five-yearly carbon budgets; and a Green Investment Fund to direct investment towards low-emissions industries. The government also plans to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2035.



Again, check your emails. You will receive an online biosecurity survey this month. If you don’t receive it, we may not have your email address. Please email Karen Orr so we can send it to you.

The survey asks you about the biosecurity measures you already take; and how you would like to receive biosecurity information from us.    The survey results will be used to benchmark current practices, develop biosecurity readiness (prevention) programmers, and produce resources that you can use.

We have already produced some new information that will be of use to you, including exotic pest and farm biosecurity management fact sheets. These are available for download from:


Are you listed as a voting grower?

Get on board and find out. It is also essential that we have your contact details and location recorded in the event of a biosecurity incursion or other emergency, such as the Havelock North water contamination crisis, so that we can help you manage risks and stay informed.

Therefore Horticulture New Zealand is making sure its grower contact information is accurate, and will have contacted you about this.  Check your emails or, if we don’t have your email address you should get something in the mail.

Remember, the information being requested is essential for us to keep you informed, ensure you have a vote on both TomatoesNZ and Horticulture NZ matters, and to advocate on your behalf.  It’s also important because of the 2018 Commodity Levy Referendum, so we need to ensure we have you listed down as a voting grower, i.e. you have grown fresh tomatoes commercially and paid a levy during the preceding 12 months.  Individual information is always confidentional.

The Commodity Levy referendum for Fresh Tomatoes will be held in July 2018, and you will be asked to vote on continuing both the TomatoesNZ commodity levy and the Hort NZ commodity levy.  Referendums are held every six years. More details and an opportunity to provide feedback will be provided in the New Year.


Valuing your industry

The product group has  commissioned a  model of the value of the covered vegetables crops sector to the New Zealand economy. The model, by the New Zealand Institute to Economic Research (NZIER), will make it very clear to New Zealand politicians, bureaucrats, the media and consumers just how valuable your industry is.

This way of collecting information in an economy-wide model is a format accepted by policy makers and politicians.

TomatoesNZ has driven this project and the other vegetable covered crops sectors (represented by Vegetables New Zealand) have come on board.  Data on the indoor tomato sector has already been gathered by NZIER and will soon be collected for indoor capsicum, cucumber, eggplant and lettuce. NZIER will report early next year.

I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!