Team New Zealand

27 Sep 2016

Aerial


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 we also need to take a wider view of what we do and take responsibility for the environment and the safety of everyone in New Zealand, be they local, tourist, or seasonal worker. All industry has a social duty, as well as the financial imperative to make money. The other salient point is, the Government can’t be expected to do everything for you.

In horticulture, we understand both our social licence and the need to partner with Government. We have numerous examples: like biosecurity, where we are partnering with Government to achieve better outcomes for all of New Zealand. We also look at natural resources, like our dedication to cleaning up the Waikato River. Another example is food safety, where we have run robust food safety programmes, with requirements set internationally, for nearly two decades. These are all examples of growers’ money being used for the greater good, and in all these examples we are partnering with Government. Or, if we’re not, we should be.

So it’s good to see that work is being done on uptake of the tourist driver code of practice being driven by the tourism industry – this is the equivalent of our food safety programmes. To make our food safety programmes work, they need to be driven by the horticulture industry, and each need to take a wider responsibility: more than just making money.

There is another similarity between the tourist driver code of practice and the horticulture industry’s food safety programmes: we have one comprehensive and robust programme for each product that is outcome-based. We do not need a myriad of rules and contradictory regulations, when we already have one tailor-made programme fit for purpose. The risk horticulture is facing is keeping with an existing, fit-for-purpose programme and getting Government to accept that. 

It is working with industry where Government will make real gains for New Zealand, be it the tourist driver code of practice, or the horticulture industry’s food safety programme. In two weeks, Horticulture New Zealand is submitting to the Primary Production Select Committee on amendments to the Food Act. Our submission is for Government to recognise one comprehensive and robust food safety programme, industry-led, integrated-with, but not duplicating, the Government’s Food Act regime.

 

- Mike Chapman, CEO