Mike's Blog

 by Mike Chapman, HortNZ CEO

Primary sector diversity is the way to go

14 Aug 2017

One of the themes to come out of the Agri-Summit Conference in Napier last week was diversity. For the continued prosperity of the primary sector, and New Zealand’s entire ec...

Taxing water an issue for us all

10 Aug 2017

NZ First want a bottled water tax, and Labour want to tax primary producers as well as water bottlers. Labour’s stated aim is to clean up our water ways. But there are no det...

Horticulture has a great story to tell

03 Aug 2017

Horticulture has a fantastic story to tell. It is one about growth, a significant contribution to New Zealand’s financial well-being, environmental sustainability, safe and h...

Immigration for sustainable growth if no Kiwis available

28 Jul 2017

There is a straightforward formula for growing premium fruit and vegetables: suitable land + adequate water + skilled and reliable labour + the right cultivars = top-notch pr...

Workplace safety vital

27 Jul 2017

The fact that consumers expect 100% perfection from their food producers was a growing trend discussed at the recent Horticulture Conference. Delegates were also told that co...

The Future of Trade

21 Jul 2017

At the recent Horticulture Conference in Tauranga, Dr Roland Fumasi –vice president, senior analyst and manager for Rabobank’s RaboResearch’s Food and Agribusiness group – ga...

Sustainable horticulture: healthy food for all forever

17 Jul 2017

One of the themes at last week’s Horticulture Conference was sustainability. To illustrate this, a mini documentary video was produced and released; you can view the video bel...

Horticulture New Zealand AGM

11 Jul 2017

The Horticulture New Zealand AGM will cover the previous year’s achievement, report on the financial position and present the current campaigns that HortNZ is leading. The ful...

Government leaders gather to discuss RSE scheme

10 Jul 2017

Last week, New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) employers, Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, and key Ministers and government officials from both New Zealand and...

RSE scheme celebrates 10 years

05 Jul 2017

I remember when there was no Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and the severe problems horticulture had getting labour at harvest time. It was not easy to find worker...

Horticulture Conference next week – registration still open

04 Jul 2017

Once again, there is an excellent offering at the Horticulture Conference, giving both fruit and vegetable growers excellent networking opportunities, new ideas, and inspirin...

Opportunities abound in horticulture

03 Jul 2017

Horticulture is "on a bit of a roll" Prime Minister Bill English said last week, “with the kiwifruit and apple industries leading the charge and creating a bit of excitement ...

Trade is the life force of New Zealand

29 Jun 2017

The Minister and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are currently holding public meetings around New Zealand, explaining our trade agenda through the Government’s recently...

The New Eating Trends

26 Jun 2017

The2017 KPMG Agribusiness Agenda: The Recipe for Action, released recently, draws the conclusion that, as lifestyle accelerates, consumers are actively seeking out ways to fin...

Maximising the value chain

23 Jun 2017

"Equipping producers to maximise their roles in the value chain" is just one of the 110 recommendations made in the recently released 2017 KPMG Agribusiness Agenda: The Recip...

Robots are horticulture's future

19 Jun 2017

Robots are making a difference in fruit and vegetable pack houses already, as seen in the above picture. This trend will continue. But the real step change will come from rob...

Housing and immigration - key issues for horticulture

13 Jun 2017

The two dominant issues leading into the New Zealand general election in September are affordable housing and immigration. Both are important to horticulture. We want there t...

UK election's impact on trade

12 Jun 2017

  First there was Brexit and now, Theresa May’s disastrous election, losing 13 seats. The pound lost value, just like it did when the Brexit decision came out. The worrying po...

Plant vegetables not houses on prime growing land

02 Jun 2017

As better weather means the supply of vegetables is improving, consumers will be noticing prices are returning to what can be expected for this time of year. The best buys ar...

Getting support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

26 May 2017

An 11 nation TPP is looking like more of a possibility every day. The United States has said that it will not be party to the TPP, but other countries have indicated they wan...

Country of Origin Labelling

22 May 2017

  The Parliamentary Select Committee commences its hearings this week on the Green Party’s Private Members Bill, the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill....

The real price of vegetables

15 May 2017

Extremely wet conditions have made it very difficult to grow vegetables in the past few weeks, especially leafy greens. Gardens are under water, plants have been destroyed by...

Investment in horticulture – development of Maori land

05 May 2017

It's no secret that horticulture is experiencing growth largely through exports; 60% of our fresh fruit and vegetables are exported and horticultural exports have grown 40% i...

Pacific Trade Deal

01 May 2017

Largely unnoticed last week was the announcement of the Pacific Trade Deal designed to cut down trade barriers covering goods and services as well as reduce tariffs, boost to...

The price of vegetables

26 Apr 2017

Wet and wild weather inevitably brings enquires about whether or not the price of vegetables will increase in New Zealand.  But the real determinant of the price of vegetable...

Country of Origin Labelling gets over first hurdle

18 Apr 2017

Country of origin labelling has started the journey to become law. Last week, Parliament voted for the Green Party’s Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill...

Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling – time to talk to your Member of Parliament

10 Apr 2017

This week, we have the first opportunity to get in place mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL). The Green’s Members Bill - Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin ...

Growing the export value of our food

04 Apr 2017

This week, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy addressed the Te Hono Summit (a one-day event aimed at sharing ideas and driving growth in the primary sector) with the ques...

New horizons for horticulture

03 Apr 2017

The Tree Crops Association held its conference in New Plymouth last weekend. More than 100 highly enthusiastic growers attended, ranging from back-yard growers through to com...

Getting ready for biosecurity incursions – we need all New Zealanders

31 Mar 2017

  Everyone in New Zealand has a key role to play finding and reporting unwanted pests that can wreak havoc on our lifestyles and our economy.  Number one public enemy today i...

Government’s new trade strategy helps horticulture

27 Mar 2017

Last Friday, the Government released its new trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030.  This is a comprehensive and thoughtful strategy that will enable horticulture growth through ...

Technology will enable horticulture growth

23 Mar 2017

  Horticulture is growing economically, and doing so sustainably. One feature of growth is that it means there is money available to invest in improved production. Horticultu...

Risks in 2017 for primary sector exports

20 Mar 2017

Many commentators are predicting a tough year for our primary sector exports, and even a decline in returns. This is an easy prediction to make, considering the global reperc...

Zespri celebrates 20 years

13 Mar 2017

Twenty years ago, the kiwifruit industry had the foresight to develop what has become a world-leading, iconic brand that is recognised by consumers in Zespri’s key offshore m...

County of Origin Labelling – voluntary does not work

10 Mar 2017

  One of the reasons given for there being no need for mandatory country of origin labelling is that there is voluntary compliance and therefore, it is not needed.  We will c...

Public enemy number one: the Brown marmorated stink bug

07 Mar 2017

This is the time of year that the brown marmorated stink bug is hitchhiking to New Zealand in luggage, packages, containers, machinery, vehicles, medical equipment, protein p...

Getting Kiwis into work

03 Mar 2017

Horticulture is working hard to get New Zealanders who have not been in work for some time, or who have just left school, into permanent work. There are many opportunities in...

Horticulture and drugs do not mix

28 Feb 2017

  Prime Minister Bill English got it right - horticulture and drugs do not go together. It’s simply a case of health and safety, for both the drug-taking workers and all the o...

Clean water plan must take a pragmatic approach

27 Feb 2017

  Last week the Government announced its plans to make 90% of our rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. There was the stick (new stock exclusion regulations) and the carrot (a $...

It’s what’s inside that counts

22 Feb 2017

When you buy fruit and vegetables, the way it looks will probably influence your selection; good-looking fruit and vegetables sell for premium prices. But often, even if frui...

Healthy food for healthy minds

20 Feb 2017

A recent study has shown that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in young adults can increase mental health, including increased motivation and vitality. The stud...

Horticulture New Zealand’s collective voice vital

10 Feb 2017

Whether showing rapid growth, or facing challenges, it is vital to have a pan-industry representative voice for horticulture growers. I’ve now been at HortNZ for one year, an...

RSE scheme is not migration – it adds to New Zealand’s wealth

08 Feb 2017

There is a commonly held misapprehension that the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme with the Pacific Islands is a form of migration; it is not. The workers come to Ne...

Move over dairy, horticulture is advancing

03 Feb 2017

Horticulture is expanding and growing through exports. Today, 60% of what we grow in New Zealand is exported. Data shows that horticulture exports increased by 40% from June ...

Houses or food, Mr Seymour?

26 Jan 2017

In a speech given on 23 January in Auckland, ACT Leader and MP for Epsom David Seymour stated: “We need to take cities out of the RMA and introduce new supply-focused urban p...

What comes after the Trans Pacific Partnership?

24 Jan 2017

United States President Donald Trump has formally withdrawn the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). So, what now? New Zealand is totally dependent on trading what we...

The best career – skill development for horticulture

16 Jan 2017

As the Christmas holidays draw to a close, many of us start thinking about our careers or, if you’re just out of college, what your career may be. Gone are the days when, fol...

Brown marmorated stink bug and fruit fly – top biosecurity threats

10 Jan 2017

At this time of year, our top biosecurity threats are the brown marmorated stink bug and fruit fly; this is when they are most likely to arrive in New Zealand and attempt to ...

Overcoming barriers to trade

21 Dec 2016

Every two years a report is released setting out the barriers to horticultural exports out of New Zealand. In the latest report, released on 30 November, the following data i...

A century of growth, and more to come

19 Dec 2016

  Figures released last week by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) show that horticulture has grown by 4.2% over the past year, with an export value of just under $5 b...

A decade of employment solutions for Otago

12 Dec 2016

Last week, I was at the 10 year anniversary celebration of Seasonal Solutions.  A labour contractor, Seasonal Solutions was established 13 years ago to provide seasonal labou...

Amendments made to the Horticulture Export Authority Act (HEA)

08 Dec 2016

  This Act is designed to both help New Zealand exporters gain market traction in developing markets, and to hold market share in developed markets. It has been an important ...

Two sets of rules won’t work in the Waikato

05 Dec 2016

Having two sets of rules never works – it is divisive, and always leaves someone feeling disadvantaged. So HortNZ was surprised and disappointed when we learned the Waikato Re...

No more Great White Butterflies

29 Nov 2016

The Great White Butterfly is officially eradicated from New Zealand. What an achievement and what a story!  The picture below is of the great white butterfly caterpillars. Th...

Trade deals open doors to wealth

25 Nov 2016

  New Zealand’s wealth is driven by our exports, and anything the Government can do to improve our ability to export adds to our country's wealth. This week there have been t...

Increase in RSE workers needed

24 Nov 2016

The horticulture and viticulture industries rely on seasonal workers for harvest and pruning. It is not a full time job but it is an essential one to ensure that the crop is ...

Registering chemicals in New Zealand to be easier

17 Nov 2016

Earlier this year, Horticulture New Zealand and other primary industry organisations made submissions on a Bill designed to make registration of chemicals more straightforwar...

Earthquakes and bad weather will impact horticulture

16 Nov 2016

  It has not been a great start to the week for some of our growers, with the earthquakes and now bad weather hitting the top of the South Island and lower North Island. Hort...

Resource Management Act reform one step closer

11 Nov 2016

During the final moment of the US Presidential election this week, there was an announcement that National and the Māori Party have reached an accord on amending the Resource...

Trade is the way to change the fortunes of Middle America

10 Nov 2016

History tells us that the path to power and prosperity is trade. You can’t grow your country’s wealth by trading with yourself; you have to go and get some other countries’ w...

Better Biosecurity for Cruise Ships

04 Nov 2016

One of the more tangible outcomes of the Government Industry Agreements for Biosecurity has been the Government’s focus on cruise ships.  The problem is simple: the fruit and...

Biopesticide research essential to meet market changes

27 Oct 2016

Horticulture is undergoing rapid growth, which makes being ahead of trends particularly important to ensure ongoing competitiveness. As our exports grow, so too does our awar...

Jobs for Kiwis

21 Oct 2016

A recent report from the Salvation Army, asserting that there are 75,000 young Kiwis displaced by immigrants and educational inequality, has attracted a fair amount of critic...

Banning palm kernel shipment the right decision

18 Oct 2016

Ever since the MV Molat turned up off the coast of Tauranga carrying 23,000 tonnes of unverified Malaysian palm kernel, we have been concerned about it landing, and the poten...

Less regulation – no need to reinvent the wheel

14 Oct 2016

As the voice of growers in Wellington, Horticulture New Zealand represents your views when new rules and laws are being made by the Government. The issue with some rules and ...

More workers needed for harvest – NZIER report

12 Oct 2016

  Horticulture and viticulture are, together, New Zealand's fourth largest export industry.   In the year to June 2016, horticulture and viticulture earned $4.1 billion from ...

Health and Safety for those uninvited visitors

07 Oct 2016

There is an endless number of central and local government officials that have right of entry to your orchard and farm; the Council can come and assess compliance with enviro...

Access to food essential to better urban planning

04 Oct 2016

  We need to be able to feed our families and put a roof over their heads.  So there has to be a balance between urban planning and making sure the 5% of New Zealand land that...

Innovative horticulture - buying New Zealand grown

29 Sep 2016

Innovation was front and centre at the citrus growers’ conference and AGM in Gisborne yesterday. Growing the best orange or mandarin is not enough in today’s world. To sell w...

Team New Zealand

27 Sep 2016

New Zealand survives with income from exports and tourism. Not just tourism, and not just exports; we all need to work together to keep New Zealand financially afloat. But w...

Staying ahead of biosecurity risks

23 Sep 2016

  With Biosecurity the number one priority for our growers, using every tool to keep pests out of horticulture in New Zealand is essential. So I was pleased to receive the Mi...

Feeding New Zealand

20 Sep 2016

  The squeeze is on horticulture between the growing demand for Auckland housing and moves to clean up the Waikato River. Auckland City wants to build houses in Pukekohe, wher...

Asia Fruit Logistica 2016 Shows Opportunities Abound

09 Sep 2016

    The value of focusing on the Asian markets for New Zealand’s horticulture exports is strongly illustrated at Asia Fruit Logistica 2016 in Hong Kong this week. Although thi...

Food is Life in Hong Kong

05 Sep 2016

  Hong Kong is a microscope into what food Asia wants, will import, and (most critically) will pay for. With fruit and vegetables both largely imported, the focus here is on b...

Christchurch Replacement District Plan

26 Aug 2016

  Notice of Decisions are out for Chapter 17 of the Christchurch Replacement District Plan, ‘Rural and relevant definitions’. We kept the scope of our submission narrow to re...

Pacific Trade Deals

24 Aug 2016

  It looks like the United States will not enter into the Trans Pacific Partnership, as neither of their presidential candidates are supporting it. Without the US there will ...

The Contractor Bill

19 Aug 2016

  This is an extraordinary piece of legislation. From what I can understand it is trying to mandate by law that all contractors receive the equivalent of the minimum wage. Not...

Protecting High Value Horticultural Land

18 Aug 2016

  This Friday 19 August, Auckland City will release its decisions on the Unitary Plan.  The plan will allow for intensification of housing within the city limits and open up ...

Support Fund for Five Tongan Workers In Fatal Traffic Accident in Katikati

10 Aug 2016

When you go to work in the morning, you expect to come home at night.  In the case of the five Tongan workers who lost their lives last week, they expected to return home at t...

The Horticulture Conference: A Stunning Success

09 Aug 2016

  The Horticulture Conference was last week and was, by all accounts, a stunning success. Innovate from Seed to Plate was the theme this year, promoting fresh thinking and te...

Unitary Plan Recommendations: Good News for Horticulture

29 Jul 2016

Horticulture New Zealand welcomes the independent panel’s recognition that Auckland’s horticulture industry makes a “considerable contribution to the wider economic productiv...

Better Biosecurity is Coming Your Way

28 Jul 2016

    This year Horticulture New Zealand has run two grower surveys to make sure we’re doing what out growers want us to do, and we’ve gotten some great data from you all. Accor...

Young Grower: Leaders of the Future

21 Jul 2016

  This year’s Young Grower of the Year is Andrew Hutchinson, a 28 year old technical support advisor with AS Wilcox & Sons in Pukekohe. I got the chance to be at the Young Ve...

Growing Staff and Business in the Right Direction

19 Jul 2016

    New Zealand horticulture is enjoying quite a boom at the moment; well on the way to meeting our 2020 goals, we’re on a roll. The question is, how do we stay there? Maintai...

Partnership with Corrections a Win for Everyone

15 Jul 2016

  Last week at the Recognised Seasonal Employer Conference, a MOU for a new training initiative was signed with the Department of Corrections. Under the new MOU, prisoners wil...

Spirits Not Dampened at National Field Day

13 Jul 2016

It was a wet day and the last day of term, but that didn’t do much to discourage over 200 year 12 and 13 pupils that made it to the Showgrounds in Hastings last Friday for th...

Grow a Better World: Fantastic Horticulture Careers

30 Jun 2016

  Here at HortNZ, we’re never shy about promoting horticulture; whether we’re spreading the good news around a new strain of kiwifruit, promoting growers’ rights in the media,...

Brexit – Implications for Horticulture

27 Jun 2016

    The vote to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) is a significant development for anyone trading with the UK and EU. Hort trade with the UK is worth abou...

The Horticulture Conference 2016

22 Jun 2016

  We've put together a fantastic line-up of speakers for this year’s Horticulture Conference, taking place in Nelson from 3 to 5 August. It’s a must go to conference for anyo...

Fieldays – Hort as a Career

17 Jun 2016

  Fieldays seem a little quieter this year.  Indicators are that there are many horticulturists attending, but not so many dairy farmers.  This is because horticulture is on a...

Out and About with Future Journalists

10 Jun 2016

    HortNZ got a chance to hang out with the bright young things of future journalism this week as Massey University’s journalism students got a crash course in horticulture a...

The Lesser of Two Weevils

03 Jun 2016

  There’s a surprising number of weevils in New Zealand horticulture news at the moment. First we have the pea weevil, a small insect pest with a lifecycle entirely dependent...

Don't Assume!

31 May 2016

It’s a sad fact Kiwis are still being caught out by misleading and deceptive country of origin labelling on food products sold in this country. We are miles, and miles, behin...

Horticulture Growth Confirmed

27 May 2016

 This week there were three announcements confirming that horticulture in NZ is in a growth phase.   The Primary Industry Training Organisation held its AGM on Tuesday.  In 2...

Uncontrolled Urban Sprawl Will Increase Vegetable Prices

19 May 2016

  It’s a simple equation: Auckland spreads its housing into our fruit and vegetable production land = we all pay more for food.  It is very simple,  if more houses are built o...

Horticulture Keeps on Growing

17 May 2016

It’s been a big year for growth in horticulture, with many of our products experiencing growth, both financial and otherwise. Onions especially are having a very productive t...

Water, Land and Growing the Best Vegetables in Pukekohe

13 May 2016

Last Tuesday’s Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association AGM was well attended with all major vegetable growing interests represented.  What made the meeting particularly releva...

Fruit Fly Operational Agreement Signed

09 May 2016

  Today history has been made with the signing of the first Operational Agreement under biosecurity Government Industry Agreements.  This first agreement is for the four most...

Velvetleaf - Farm Management Plan

06 May 2016

  MPI have recently amended their guidelines for how to deal with the invasive velvetleaf weed, available here. These guidelines are designed to achieve long-term management ...

Attention Freshwater Users

11 May 2016

 Attention New Zealand freshwater users – it’s time to take a look at what a small group of growers have achieved, along with their regional council, in the Hawke’s Bay.  They...

Tamarixia – A Sustainable Solution

04 May 2016

  This is a wasp that will help control psyllid.  Psyllid is a plant louse that transmits the liberibacter bacteria, which causes plant deaths in potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum...

Young Vegetable Grower 2016

03 May 2016

Last week I was down in Canterbury attending the Young Vegetable Grower of the Year Final. Along with Hort NZ president Julian Raine and Vice President Tony Howey, key Hort NZ...

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

19 Apr 2016

Today HortNZ Manager Richard Palmer and I appeared before the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Committee and spoke on the value of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (T...