Jun 08 2020

June 2020 Update

Tomato Red Spider Mite

Two small populations of tomato red spider mite (Tetranychus evansi) have been found by Biosecurity NZ on nightshade weeds at two Auckland locations during routine and follow up surveillance recently.   A risk assessment is currently underway to determine likely impact, and next steps.    More information and a fact sheet on the mite is available here.

As GIA partners, TomatoesNZ is working closely with Biosecurity NZ and will have input to any decisions made.  We will keep you informed on this as more is known.

COVID-19 update

It is with a great sense of relief to learn we move to Alert Level 1 at midnight tonight.  It has been impressive how well growers have adapted to restrictions placed on them with social distancing and hygiene protocols.   Practices such as regular hand washing will stay embedded in the way we do things.  COVID-19 restrictions have re-enforced some good workplace practices, however I am sure we all welcome a return to some normality.  Display of QR code posters for ease of contract tracing continues to be recommended, and you can access these on the Government COVID-19 website.

What do to if you’re contacted by the media?

If you’re asked to comment or be interviewed by the media for a news story, and you’re unsure how best to handle this, please give us a call or direct the media to us.  TomatoesNZ are happy to liaise with media and assist with their enquiries.  We’re often well placed to do this as we work closely with HortNZ’s communications team and media advisor. 

If you are filmed for a segment, please be mindful of how you manage this and ensure grower best practice is shown.   

SFFF ‘Lighter Touch’ launch

The “A Lighter Touch” SFFF (Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures) project involving collaboration between industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officially began on 1st April 2020. 

This project brings togethers sixteen participating groups, including TomatoesNZ.

A Lighter Touch is a 7-year, $27 million programme with the vision that New Zealand will become one of the most desirable sources of food in the world. The programme will look at how to integrate more sustainable crop protection practices to improve growing outcomes.  A key focus is understanding the agroecosystem and reducing the opportunity for pests to thrive to reduce the need for crop protection interventions.

A website for the project is currently under development.

NZ Grower magazine

We’re pleased to advise the industry magazine, NZGrower, is up and running again and the next printed issue will be in August. 

Emissions Trading Scheme reforms

Changes to ETS legislation were announced last week. Notable for growers using heating:

  • The current Fixed Price for NZ Units of $25 is being increased to $35 this year. This is expected to be the final year for the fixed price.
  • The fixed price will be replaced with a “cost containment reserve” as part of a new auctioning system, which will have a “trigger” floor price of $20 and ceiling of $50, in 2021. The floor price will increase, and the ceiling price increase, both by 2% each year subsequent to 2021.
  • Phase-out of industrial allocation at a rate of 1% each year will start from 2021 and continue until 2030.   This means tomato, capsicum and cucumber growers who pay ETS through their fuel (e.g., coal, oil, gas) or electricity supplier who were recognised as moderately emissions-intensive activities move from 0.6 to 0.59 in the first year of the phase-out. The rate increases to 2% for the years 2031-40, and to 3% for 2041-50.
  • We, in our submission with HortNZ, asked for this phase out rate to be at different rates for different sectors, depending on likely “carbon leakage” (substitution from imports) and ability to change technologies. We are very pleased that a mechanism for this has been included in the draft legislation.

‘Shovel Ready’ project application rejected

During April we submitted an application to the Government’s ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure project seeking support for low-emissions boiler upgrades in greenhouse heating.  In particular the project focused on assistance with options for growers reliant on coal to move to renewable energy sources.   We found in mid-May that our application was not successful, but will continue to look into options to provide growers with information and assistance for energy efficient conversions.

2020 AGM

The TomatoesNZ 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held in the afternoon on 25th September 2020, along with the HortNZ and Vegetables NZ AGMs.  It is being held at the Pukekohe Indian Centre.  We are working on the plan for the afternoon, including possible guest speakers, and will provide further details soon.

Retirement of Lex Dillion

At the end of May, long-time TomatoesNZ board member and Underglass Managing Director Lex Dillon retired.  Lex has been involved with TomatoesNZ for over twenty years and has been our chief go-to-man for hands-on advice, knowledge, and the odd bit of banter.   He’s never too busy to help, and his patience and practical advice is always spot-on.  We’ll thank Lex formally at the 2020 AGM and would like to acknowledge how much help he has provided the industry and TomatoesNZ management.  We’re going to miss you Lex!

Freshwater reforms

Last week the Government announced the freshwater reform package, which includes an updated National Policy Statement for Freshwater and a new National Environmental Standard for Freshwater.

Vegetable growing, including in greenhouses, has been exempted from many of the new requirements that pastoral must meet.  However, it will eventually require all horticulture operations over 5 ha to have Farm Environment Plans. If you would like more information please contact us.  The Ministry for the Environment’s website also has information.