Sep 18 2017

Monthly Update September 2017

Irradiated food labelling

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have released have released the result of their 18-month review of labelling for irradiated food.  TomatoesNZ was consulted directly and made a submission advocating for the retention of the labelling requirement, because our research showed that consumers want to know if their food is irradiated.

The conclusion of the review was that the irradiated food labelling rules will not be changed.

This is good news, as it means that irradiated imported Australian tomatoes (and other irradiated produce) must continue to be labelled as irradiated, at point-of sale.  All Australian tomatoes arriving here are irradiated for biosecurity purposes. 

There have been some shipments of Australian tomatoes arriving during August.  If you see Australian tomatoes that are not labelled “irradiated”, please report the details (including the time, location, and a photo if possible) to the Ministry for Primary Industries, email Info@mpi.govt.nz or phone 0800 008 333 .

Emissions Trading Scheme

In late July, the government made an announcement on Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) policy, which is under seemingly constant review. TomatoesNZ, alongside HortNZ and Vegetables NZ, participate in the review process by attending workshops and making submissions.

Of particular note for greenhouse growers in the July announcement:

  • There will be no changes to the “free allocation” of ETS units for greenhouse tomato, capsicum growers and other “Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed Industries”. However this status is likely to reviewed again post 2020;
  • Re-opening of international unit trading is signalled, but it will be with limitations (the unwritten point here is that they do not want to see the unit price plunge like it previously did when there was international trading);
  • The current $25 price ceiling for ETS units, is likely to be increased.  No timeframe was given for this, but it would probably be when international trading resumes.

Additionally, the government announced plans to:

  • Introduce an auctioning system for ETS units;

Align the ETS to New Zealand climate change targets (i.e. reducing emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, under the Paris Agreement) ; and

  • To coordinate decisions on the supply settings in the ETS over a rolling five-year period, in an attempt to increase certainty.

In August,  the Government’s Productivity Commission released a “Low emissions economy issues paper”, as part of an inquiry into how New Zealand can “identify options for how New Zealand could reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions and transition towards a low emissions future, while continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing.”

Biosecurity agreements for Fruit Fly and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug signed

At the TomatoesNZ AGM, held 12th July in Tauranga, remits mandating the industry’s signing of Operational Agreements, and the establishment of a biosecurity levy, were overwhelmingly supported by those that voted.

Following that, TomatoesNZ participated in the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Operational Agreement and joined the Fruit Fly operational agreement. 

As signatories to these two agreements, TomatoesNZ will participate in readiness activities, and if required, responses.

TomatoesNZ will submit an application for a biosecurity levy in the coming months. The initial levy rate will be 0.10%, and the maximum 0.25%, however we don’t expect this to be in place for at least 12 months. 

New staff member

TomatoesNZ has appointed Karren Orr to a new part time Business Manger position.  The role will be combined with that of Business Manager for Vegetables.co.nz and based in the HortNZ office. Karen starts during September.