Mar 15 2018

Monthly Update March

Commodity Levy Referendum 2018

The commodity levy referendum will run from the 2nd July to the 13th August.

Fresh tomato growers will be asked to vote for the Fresh Tomato levy that funds Tomatoes New Zealand, and for the Horticulture New Zealand levy.

Our organisations are based in the same Wellington office and work closely together to ensure we can achieve the maximum possible representation, advocacy and industry development for your levy.  

We need your support in the referendum to ensure we can continue to do this work for you.  For the levy to be approved, 50% of votes by number, and by value must be in favour. You will be asked to declare your sales value on the voting form, which you can either complete online or return by post to the independent returning office

Onions NZ, Vegetables NZ, and Process Vegetables NZ work alongside us at the same location and we are in daily contact about the issues affecting growers. Those groups are also conducting their levy referendums alongside Horticulture New Zealand in July-August. 

We are finalising the details of the levy proposal document, which will be posted to voters during April.

Fantastic Job

The TomatoesNZ board members do a fantastic job of directing and supporting the work that TomatoesNZ Business Manager Karen Orr and I carry out on your behalf.   The board has three full meetings per year plus the Annual General meeting and conference (which this year will be 23rd-25th July in Christchurch).

The most recent meeting was held at MG Marketing in Christchurch on the 28th February.   

There was a robust discussion on several aspects of the commodity levy proposal and process; and on the pros and cons of different options for a “Tomato Sector Operational Agreement” with MPI for tomato sector biosecurity readiness and response.

The board agreed that TomatoesNZ will sign up to the National Biosecurity Capability Network (NBCN), a network of over 200 organisations that are willing to make their resources available to respond to outbreaks in New Zealand. Network members share resources, people and knowledge for biosecurity response.

Rachel McClung, Horticulture New Zealand’s Environmental Policy Advisor – South Island,  gave an update on current topics that team is working on related to fresh tomato growing, and received some feedback from the board. 

Sadly we said goodbye to the following board members:

  • Hayden Armstrong, elected board member and grower from Levin, who is going out of the tomato business;
  • Richard Cameron, MG Marketing, co-opted board member who has resigned from MG’s and consequently steps down from the TomatoesNZ board;
  • Jonathan Baker, elected board member from Lyttelton, who is no longer an independent tomato grower.

MG’s nominated Michael Breitmeyer as Richard’s replacement, and the TomatoesNZ board formally appointed Mike.

Albert Shih, tomato grower from Canterbury, attended the meeting as an observer, and plans to seek election to the board.

This leaves one vacancy for an elected board member.  If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please get in touch with me on 

Nominations for the TomatoesNZ board will be open from 14th May to 5th June. If an election is required postal vote will occur in the second half of June.

The next board meeting will be held on the 23rd of May in Wellington.

Save the date! “Our Food Story” Conference 2018

The TomatoesNZ Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Monday 23rd July, as part of the Horticulture Conference, 23rd – 25th July 2018, at Wigram Air Force Museum, Christchurch.

We are excited that the conference is returning to Christchurch for the first time since the 2011 earthquakes. An engaging programme is being developed for the conference which will include a repeat of the successful “Vegetable Industry Dinner” held for the first time at conference last year.

TomatoesNZ will again be offering members’ assistance with registration and travel costs for those fresh tomato growers attending conference.  Keep an eye out for more details over the next couple of months!  Any AGM remits are required by Tuesday 5th June.

Greenhouse Nutrient Discharge Good Practice

Last year TomatoesNZ, in conjunction with Vegetables NZ, made some updates to resources to help greenhouse vegetable growers manage wastewater discharge. These resources were designed to assist growers with good management practices for nutrient discharge management, and to assist where resource consent is required from Regional Council.

The Greenhouse Nutrient Solution Discharge – requirements for achieving Good Practice is available on our website: under ‘Research/ Codes of practise". This document includes a checklist, decision tree, and reference values as a self-audit tool to assist you in determining if your greenhouse nutrient solution discharge meets Good Practice.

Also available are documents on ‘A Code of Practice for the Management of Greenhouse Nutrient Discharges (2007)’ and ‘A Growers’ Guide to the Management of Greenhouse Nutrient Discharges (2007)’ which are still relevant.  The last page (pg5) of the Good Practice guide refers to Auckland, but it can be changed to storage requirements and permitted activity rules for other councils.

The "Discharge Management Plan" document is a guide to assist growers in developing a management plan.

We also have available a case study document for the Auckland council consenting process.  Please contact to request a copy of this.