Mar 04 2020

March 2020 update

ETS /Energy update

Consultation with government on changes to the ETS and lowering energy emissions continue, with TomatoesNZ working with Vegetables NZ and HortNZ on a joint submission to the Ministry for the Environment on ‘Reforming the NZ ETS: Proposed Settings’at the end of February.    The government is proposing settings for new ETS unit auctions, including:

  • the provisional emissions budget for 2021 to 2025
  • the overall limit on emissions in the NZ ETS over the period 2021 to 2025
  • how many NZUs are auctioned into the scheme by the Government over the period 2020 to 2025. Auctioning is planned to start at the end of 2020, slightly before the start of the provisional emissions budget on 1 January 2021.
  • whether a price floor in the NZ ETS is needed over the period 2020 to 2025
  • the level of the potential price floor over the period 2020 to 2025
  • the level of the price ceiling over the period 2020 to 2025.

 

Our submission covered key points including:

  • Food security
  • Carbon leakage
  • Sustainable transition
  • Investment to enable transition to lower emissions alternative fuels
  • Importance of greenhouse growing in response to climatic variability

In late December the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released a discussion document titled ‘Accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency’.  The proposals in this consultation could have significant impacts on greenhouse coal users if implemented. Options in the paper include:

  • Expanding ECCA’s grants for technology diffusion and capability-building.
  • Introducing a ban on new coal-fired boilers for low and medium temperature requirements.
  • Requiring existing coal-fired process heat equipment supplying end-use temperature requirements below 100°C to be phased out by 2030.
  • Introducing a levy on consumers of coal to fund initiatives to support transition from coal.

Early February we met with three members of the Energy & Resource Markets team at MBIE on this discussion document.  It was clear they had not considered horticulture and indoor growing, and they were interested to understand our requirements and the impacts. 

TomatoesNZ, along with Vegetables NZ and Hort NZ, provide in our submission information on how greenhouses are heated in NZ and heat requirements for growing tomatoes (and other indoor vegetables); explain the lack of feasible alternative options currently available and regional constraints with case studies/examples to support our case;  and look at options that government should consider to support growers.

TomatoesNZ, with Vegetables NZ and HortNZ, have continued to highlight in our submissions the need for an integrated approach with cost-effective technological solutions for alternative energy sources and/or energy saving needed for indoor growers.  

 

Covered Crop Grower workshops

Workshops in February and early March in Lincoln and Pukekohe updated growers on TomatoesNZ’s research projects, along with development of farm environment plans for covered crop growers, automation and other information.  

An article will be published on the workshop content in the next NZ Grower.

 

Fruitfly update

At the end of January Biosecurity NZ announced that the Queensland fruit fly response in Auckland was ending, lifting the restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables on Auckland's North Shore.  All additional surveillance activities have finished, except for the usual national surveillance trap system that is in place every summer.

We would like to thank all the people involved in this response and in particular the staff of Biosecurity NZ who have been managing the response over the course of many months.   I have been representing TomatoesNZ for the response governance along with representatives from other affected industry groups and MPI, and the investment in keeping Queensland fruit fly out of New Zealand has been critical to us.

The biosecurity levy on fresh tomatoes, which came into effect on Monday 3rd February at a rate of 0.10% at the first point of sale, will be used to pay TomatoesNZ share in the costs of this response.

 

Pukekohe growers visits by government officials

On 20th February Onions NZ hosted a field trip for a group of government officials and research partners, which TomatoesNZ joined with visits to NZ Hothouse and Lee Wang Hothouse in Pukekohe. 

It’s important we continue to engage with key people in the government agencies and talk about covered crop growing of tomatoes and other vegetables.  We will look at further opportunities to do this.

Our thanks to Lex Dillon and Simon Watson at NZ Hothouse, and Edward Lee and his family at Lee Wang Hothouse for hosting the group at their sites.