Nov 14 2017

Monthly Update November 2017

Low Emissions Economy Inquiry submission

TomatoesNZ and HortNZ worked together to make a joint submission to the Productivity Commission on their “Low-emissions economy inquiry”, in October, also supported by Vegetables New Zealand.  The very broad inquiry asked “how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower net-emissions economy”. 

Our submission focused on describing the challenges facing the horticulture industry, particularly indoor growing operations, in reducing carbon emissions and bearing the costs of the Emissions Trading Scheme. We emphasised that more needs to be invested in understanding and modelling horticulture emissions in NZ compared to our competitors, as well as research, development and implementation of new technology that would allow horticulture to lower emissions. We also discussed an assumption made in the inquiry paper that moving New Zealand away from animals and towards horticulture would improve the country’s emissions profile: it probably would, however there are constraints in ongoing access to land, water, RMA rules and ETS costs.

The inquiry paper and submissions can be downloaded from, and our submission is also available from the “Hot Topics/ Emissions Trading Scheme” page of

Poinsettia thrips update

Since the Echinothrips americanus were discovered in one Auckland facility in August, TomatoesNZ have been working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to determine if it has spread.

No further poinsettia thrips have been found or reported, and the thrip has been eliminated from the site where it was originally discovered.

Eleven Auckland-based industry crop pest scouts and technical staff from T&G’s, NZ Hothouse, NZ Gourmet, Southern Paprika and Gellert’s have been trained in carrying out surveys for the thrips, and surveillance is being conducted at five sites in the Auckland area as I write this. It seems at this stage that the thrips have not spread, however this survey will give us greater confidence.

The process of training industry staff and working in partnership with MPI and other impacted sectors has been a valuable learning exercise for all those involved. It has modelled the Government Industry Agreement on Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) partnership approach that might occur in future biosecurity “investigations” and “responses”.

As a sector we have provided co-ordination, governance, communication, and technical resources in-kind; and also staff to conduct surveillance as part of the MPI “investigation” of the thrips. MPI have provided governance, administration, communications support, technical support, health & safety advice, co-ordination, and training.  The MPI staff involved have developed a greater understanding of greenhouse growing and biosecurity, while we have upskilled some of our industry people and produced some tools and processes that can be re-used in a more urgent or greater impact event.

We do ask that growers stay vigilant as the season warms up and report anything suspicious to the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease hotline, phone 0800 80 99 66.  For more details about the thrip and what to do if you think you have seen it,  see last month’s Grower magazine (Pages 42-43) or the “biosecurity” webpage, where a fact sheet about the thrips can be downloaded.


Farm Biosecurity

Farm biosecurity is “management practices and activities that are carried out on your property to prevent the entry and spread of pests”.  It is about protecting your livelihood, your industry, and that of your neighbours.  Farm biosecurity is your responsibility and that of every person working on or visiting your property. 

 On the biosecurity page there is a Production Site Biosecurity Best Practice Checklist exploring the concepts in more detail.  Completing the checklist will give you the opportunity to see what you are already doing and what you might want to consider including in your growing operation in future.  


Updated poster available

TomatoesNZ members should have received in the post the 2017 version of the Residue Compliance Information poster. If you would like another copy please email me or phone 04 472 3795.

NOTE: The correct withholding period for Sulfoxaflor (Transform) is 1 day, not 14 days, as stated on the poster.

Board re-appointments

The board confirmed at their October meeting that Richard Cameron (MG Marketing), Anthony Stone (T&G Global) and Lex Dillon (NZ Hothouse) would stay on as co-opted board members. These board positions are in addition to the six elected members and two observers, meaning a wide cross-section of the industry has a voice at the table.

Alasdair MacLeod stays on Independent Chair, but will be stepping down at the July 2018 AGM after six years in the role.  Malcolm Pook (elected board member from Auckland) continues as the vice-chair.