Monthly Update - June 2016
EPA hearing held for Tamarixia application
On Wed 4th May I attended and presented at the Environmental Protection Authority hearing of the HortNZ/TNZ/Vegetables NZ/Potatoes NZ/Tamarillos NZ/Heinz Wattie’s NZ application to import for release the Tomato-Potato Psyllid biocontrol agent Tamarixia Triozae.
The team from Market Access Solutionz, including Dr. Sally Anderson and Dr. Stephen Ogden, who coordinated the development and submission of the application, presented a brief overview of the application and addressed issues of raised by submitters; while each of the product groups talked about the importance of the application to their growers.
There has been a significant volume of work done and money invested to try and find sustainable, alternative ways of managing the TPP in NZ, and currently Tamarixia is the best known option to increase the options in the “toolbox” and contribute significantly to its sustainable management.
The industry submitters, including three tomato growers and a capsicum grower, described how the arrival of TPP has significantly impacted on their businesses and how the long term management of TPP could become unsustainable, given that overseas competitors have a wide range of biocontrol agents at their disposal. The industry needs more “tools” to tackle pests than they currently have available, biocontrol agents are a very important part of the toolbox. One grower finished by saying that he felt that the decision that the EPA made would provide an indication about whether food production/security in NZ was something that was going to be supported or not, because if industry cannot get biocontrol agents like Tamarixia, NZ growers had no hope of keeping up with international competitors, and that continued investment in the production of food in NZ would become unlikely under that scenario.
The National Maori Vegetable Growers Collective representative, Nick Roskruge, submitted in support of the application, and spoke to the panel about how, despite efforts to control it, TPP and especially liberibacter had been devastating to Tawea (Maori potato). Nick described why Maori potato and other traditional food crops were important for the Mana of Maori and of New Zealand.
The EPA staff assessment report stated that “we consider that the cumulative adverse effects of releasing T. triozae to control TPP are negligible and the cumulative benefits significant”, and recommended that the application be approved.
The hearing was a very interesting and intense experience. I feel that there is a good chance of the application being approved. By the time you read this the outcome should be known as it is due to be released by June 17th.
For more on the Tamarixia application, go to Hot Topics
ETS “two for one” deal to go
You have likely seen the budget announcement that the Emissions Trading Scheme “two for one” deal is being phased out. This means that growers, who must pay for units when they buy fuel, will face an annual increase in their price for the next three years, over and above any rises of the units themselves. For the 2019 calendar year, emitters will face “full surrender” obligations.
We were informed at the last round of ETS consultation workshops that if the “2 for 1” goes, the industrial allocation (“free units” that you can apply for) automatically increases along with it. Only a small comfort for coal users, since the “free units” will still only cover about half of the additional cost (see the table in my column last month).
For more information on ETS go to the "Hot Topics" page
Registrations for The Horticulture Conference, Nelson, 3rd - 5th August 2016, are now open.
TNZ’s conference day and AGM will be held on Wednesday 3rd August.
TomatoesNZ is offering to refund the registration (full conference) and travel costs (up to $500) for up to two people per memberorganisation (i.e. fresh tomato levy payers), for the first 15 member organisations to apply.
All members should receive a letter in the post in mid-May about how to register for conference and how to claim the refund. Information will also be available on the conference page or by phoning Lynda Banks on grower Freephone 0508 467 869.