Horticulture growers to vote on levy reduction

11 Jul 2017

A levy reduction for commercial fruit and vegetable growers will be voted on at tomorrow’s Horticulture New Zealand Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Tauranga, says Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine.

Commercial fruit and vegetable growers covered by Horticulture New Zealand are legally required under the Commodity Levies (Vegetables and Fruit) Order 2013 to pay a levy on the sale of those fruit and vegetables grown in New Zealand.

“We are proposing the levy be reduced by 0.01% to 0.14% (14c per $100 of sales),” Mr Raine says.

“With prudent cost controls in the preceding financial year, Horticulture New Zealand has been able to reach an initial target of $2 million of retained earnings. The Board is conducting a review to develop a reserve policy that will be tabled at the 2018 AGM. For the current year, the Board believes $2 million is enough to sustain a downturn in levies and still continue to provide essential services.

“So the Board has recommended to the AGM that the levy be reduced.”

Horticulture New Zealand’s Annual Report for the 2016-17 financial year will be tabled at the AGM, outlining the work the organisation has done to match the strategy set by the Board.

“The Board has developed the vision: Healthy food for all forever. It is a simple concept, but behind it lies a lot of work to ensure rights to grow; access to appropriate land, water and labour; and better market access for exports,” Mr Raine says.

“As well, we need to focus on the biggest threat to our growing environment, a biosecurity breach that could allow a devastating pest or disease into New Zealand.”

Horticulture New Zealand’s AGM runs alongside the Horticulture Conference 2017, starting in Tauranga tomorrow and running until Friday. It is a joint conference between Horticulture New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand, Tomatoes NZ and the New Zealand Asparagus Council.