TNZ board elections announced at the AGM
The TNZ board elections were held late June for 3 weeks as we had 4 nominations for 2 available positions. As a result of the elections, Simon Watson retained his position and the board welcomes Junguen Kim, known as Jiny. The TNZ board would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Anthony Tringham for the 13 years that he has spent on the TNZ board, including representing tomato growers on the VR&I board and Veges.co.nz. He is a vocal and passionate grower of heirloom tomatoes, never worrying if the views he expressed around the board table were popular, preferring instead to raise points what he believed to be right. We thank Anthony for his commitment on behalf of all tomato growers, and we look forward to his ongoing participation of the A Lighter Touch / Bioforce trial with beneficial insects.
After the AGM was completed, we heard from Nigel Brunel, head of commodities and ETS at Jarden, an investment bank that trades the units allocated under industrial allocation. Nigel was able to talk with a huge amount of insight into the reasoning behind why the ETS register was set up, recent trends and what the future holds. In summary, the ETS began in 2008 and at the time was only the second government run scheme. One of the key components of the ETS is the free allocation of units. The aim was to compensate producers who compete with imports when other countries aren’t subjected to a any kind of carbon tax by providing an allocation in the form of NZUs (units) which could be traded at auctions or given as part payment to energy suppliers. The idea was for the allocation to reduce over time to encourage the producers to decarbonise their businesses but the reality is that there has been little effect on carbon emissions in the last 15 years. This is partly due to the volatility of the NZU market which reacts negatively when the government rejects the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) advice about the pricing of the units. Nigel emphasised the need for Government to be consistent to ensure there is confidence in the scheme. It’s also because forestry owners have been allowed to sell their allocations to anyone wanting to offset their emissions which has led to an oversupply of forestry units and the auctions failing. The government has since followed the CCC’s advice which should help with stability in the unit pricing.
Looking ahead, Nigel expressed his view that it is likely that the price for carbon credits will continue to increase, with fluctuations overtime. This position is formed based on both National and Labour being aligned and signing up to the global targets set for carbon emission reductions. i.e. even if there is a change in Government come October, the trajectory will be the same in terms of using the ETS as one of New Zealand’s tools to encourage de-carbonisation. From a Tomatoes New Zealand perspective, we are firm in our belief that there needs to be support for smaller sectors to decarbonise, the free allocation needs to support sectors where there is competition from offshore competitors without an ETS as robust as New Zealand’s, the ETS cannot be hijacked by speculators/ traders and we need to ensure that tomatoes (and other fruits and vegetables) are still affordable for New Zealanders.
Nigel Brunel on the Future of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
Key Concerns of Tomato Growers 2023
The ETS and having support for growers in decarbonising the industry is one of the areas that has received a stronger focus in our refreshed Key Concerns document. This was first produced last year as a living document to be updated as required. There are still 4 key areas highlighted; 1. Decarbonisation – which calls for more support that is more easily accessed for all growers with no minimum amounts placed on the funding. 2. Cost of Production – this highlights how much labour costs have increased as well as other costs of production and their influences on inflation; 3. – Regulations that Foster Growth – highlighting the increasing complex compliance regulations that growers are having to fulfil; 4. Biosecurity – with another incursion in the last 12 months, the need for the impact of destroying crops has on the market to be taken into consideration.
This document will be circulated amongst politicians of all parties, local councils, policy analysts and others. You can access a copy here: https://www.tomatoesnz.co.nz/about/key-concerns-of-tomato-growers/
I am always happy to have feedback, so if there is anything in this document that you don’t agree with or thinks needs updating, please email me email@example.com
GIDI Hot water fund
This is a new initiative by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) to support growers who are looking to change their existing fossil fuel heating system by providing co-funding. Hot water heat pumps are often more efficient than boilers that they are replacing and can therefore be have lower operating costs once installed. The first thing to do if this is something you are interested in, is to look at the dedicated page on the EECA website:
The next step would be to ask a supplier to visit your site to give you a quote. You will also need to check with the supplier what electricity supply you would need with the new equipment and check with your line supplier if this already exists. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Fall Army Worm (FAW)
Is this something that you have noticed in your greenhouses? Populations of FAW was first noticed in outdoor crops earlier in the year and was thought to have blown over from Australia. It was hoped that they would be decimated by low winter temperatures but some areas haven’t experienced the required frosts and FAW is likely to be another pest that growers will need to scout for. We have been doing some research as to what might help greenhouse growers specifically so if you think you are being affected by FAW, please do get in touch as soon as you can.
Most tomato growers have problems with whitefly at some point in the growing cycle of their plants. For many these becomes such a problem that it affects the yield and quality of their crop. Increasingly, chemical sprays aren’t effective so TomatoesNZ has been working with A Lighter Touch on alternative ways of controlling whitefly. The project is at a stage that it can pass on some advice based on data from the project. This is in the form of a workshop on 13th September 4pm-5pm open to all growers but the data presented will be based specifically on tomatoes. More info and RSVP here:
At the end of the AGM, 2 awards were presented on behalf of the TNZ board. Tony Ivicevich was awarded a life membership for his services to the industry. Many of you will have come across Tony either as a grower (he started out growing citrus before moving to greenhouse growing in 1980), as a past TNZ board chair (11 years) or as a member of the HortNZ board (9 years), or with his association of the Horticentre Group which he is still active in as a trustee for the charitable trust. Tony has been involved in so many different areas of the industry and is always generous in sharing his knowledge and always with a focus for improving the prospects for growers.
Helen Barnes was presented an award of merit for her services to the TNZ board and to growers as the TNZ general manager which she did for 10 years. This was proceeded with a further 8 years in various other positions for VegFed and Horticulture NZ. Helen always immersed herself in understanding the issues that growers were facing from biosecurity to the complexities of ETS. Her methodical approach ensured the board was always kept up to speed on important matters. She had a genuine interest in the industry and the growers that she communicated with. The board would like to thank Helen for all she did.