Friday, 21 June 2024 17:19

Growers vote to continue supporting HortNZ

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
HortNZ chair Barry O'Neil. HortNZ chair Barry O'Neil.

Fruit and vegetable growers have overwhelmingly voted to continue paying their Horticulture New Zealand levy.

According to HortNZ, 97% of growers by value, voted to continue support of HortNZ in the recent levy referendum, whilst 87% of growers by number voted to continue paying the levy.

HortNZ board chair Barry O’Neil says growers had provided it with a strong mandate to continue advocating for them and delivering a wide range of work and programmes to support their businesses.

“This result is a vote of confidence in HortNZ. It shows growers want a strong and unified horticulture sector speaking up for them and their businesses.

“It is particularly pleasing that a record number of growers voted and there was a larger turn-out than the last referendum.”

O’Neil says the interests of their 4,200 commercial fruit and vegetable growers is a top priority.

Over the next six years, we will remain focused on delivering results for growers, he says.

“We will ensure growers’ voices are heard at both national and local government level and provide them with the support so they can make more informed decisions for their businesses and ensure they have certainty to invest in their operations.

“That means delivering the tools, resources and services to support the sector’s ambitious growth targets of doubling the farmgate value of production in ways that improve the prosperity for our people while protecting the environment.

“On behalf of HortNZ, I want to thank those growers who took time out from their busy jobs to vote in the referendum.”

HortNZ outgoing chief executive Nadine Tunley said the renewed mandate reflected feedback from growers during HortNZ’s grower meetings earlier this year.

“It confirmed that growers consider that the HortNZ team is delivering on the important issues and that they support the focus on key priorities such as water, land use, RMA, climate change and adaptation – areas that will secure a resilient supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“We have heard their calls for less duplication across different product groups and more focus on the strength of a united voice for all of horticulture.

“We are already working closely across the sector, and with certainty of continued levy support, the team will continue to look at more ways of working better together to ensure growers get the most efficient and effective return on their investment.”

The renewed levy will apply for six years from the expiry of the current levy order in March 2025, with the levy rate remaining at the maximum of 15 cents per $100 of sales.

HortNZ will now submit its application to the Minister of Agriculture for a new levy order that will run for a maximum of six years from 1 April 2025.

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