Amendments made to the Horticulture Export Authority Act (HEA)
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 tool assisting the growth of horticulture in key markets. The products that come under this system are avocados, blackcurrants, buttercup squash, chestnuts, kiwifruit - just to Australia, persimmons, summer fruit, tamarillos and truffles.
The way the HEA system works is twofold: it sets minimum grade standards for the produce being exported and develops generic marketing and promotional plans for the countries the produce is being exported to. It does not permit any control of volumes into the market, or the price at which the produce is to be sold. Volume and price are up to the individual exporters to decide.
The biggest benefit from the HEA system in my view, does not come from any of the rules, it comes from the need for growers and exporters to collaborate on setting the grade standards for export and developing marketing and promotional strategies. In effect, this develops into one voice and one in-market approach. There is strength in numbers, especially when the exporters are not large operators, and definite strength in unity when competing in offshore markets.
The amendments tidied up some administrative details, including increasing the fines for failing to comply with the HEA rules from $10,000 to $50,000; setting the requirements for products to vote to come under the HEA system (now 60% of growers and exporters by number and value); and allowing for different regimes to apply to different countries. The last amendment permits a different set of quality standards to apply to different countries, recognising the differences between mature and developing markets.
This is a good enhancement of a system that is already serving horticulture well.
- Mike Chapman, CEO