Horticulture New Zealand’s Board is asking growers to vote to renew the levy funding that keeps the organisation going, with voting papers going out today.
A levy rate of 14 cents per $100 of sales of the fruits and vegetables covered in The Commodity Levies (Vegetables and Fruit) Order is the principal funding mechanism to support Horticulture New Zealand’s work for commercial fruit and vegetable growers. The levy expires in May 2019 and voting to renew it, or not, needs to be completed by 13 August 2018.
"The purpose of Horticulture New Zealand is: Enabling, promoting and advocating for growers in New Zealand to achieve the industry goal (a $10 billion industry by 2020)," says Board President Julian Raine.
"Part of this includes making the most of the organisation’s location in Wellington to engage with politicians, government departments, other primary sector representative groups and business groups, to advance the interests of growers.
"There are significant opportunities and issues facing horticulture and we believe it is essential to have the united voice that Horticulture New Zealand has, both to maximise those opportunities and find solutions for the issues," Raine says.
The levy is expected to raise about $4.6 million per year, which is spent on grower representation across areas important to their businesses including biosecurity; access to land, water and people; research and development; education and training; and maintaining quality assurance programmes.
"Horticulture is going from strength to strength. In a number of our crops we are rated as number one in the world," Raine says. "This is the result of a combination of factors, one of the most important being, we are trusted by consumers. Our crops are quite rightly, seen as healthy and good for you and this is an important factor in telling our story to the world, which we have been focusing on."
Consultation with growers has included posting out an information brochure, and visits to growers and grower groups from Horticulture New Zealand’s Board and senior executives are ongoing. The next two weeks visits will include visits to Northland, Nelson, Bay of Plenty and North Auckland.
The levy order comes up for renewal every six years. Once votes are counted - by 20 August - and announced, the process includes application to the Ministry for Primary Industries for a new levy order, consideration of the application by the Agriculture Minister and, if approved, the Minister instructs Parliamentary Counsel to draft a new levy order. A new levy order must be in place before the previous one expires.
The Horticulture New Zealand levy order falls due at the same time as levy orders for Vegetables NZ, Onions NZ, Tomatoes NZ, and Process Vegetables NZ.
More information is available here.