Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:33

Ghost group opposes Zespri vote

Written by  Pam Tipa
The anonymous “Concerned Growers Group’ is opposing two Zespri resolutions currently before growers. The anonymous “Concerned Growers Group’ is opposing two Zespri resolutions currently before growers.

An anonymous group called Concerned Growers Collective is opposing two Zespri resolutions now before growers which the group claims would cause “irreparable damage” to the industry.

Read: Zespri says it is disappointed at the “inaccurate” claims being made by the anonymous Concerned Growers Collective.

Zespri went on a roadshow in the past two weeks asking kiwifruit growers to vote in support of two resolutions: 12-month marketing and ownership by Zespri of all plant variety rights (PVRs).

The poll will finish on March 15 and is counted in two ways; resolutions generally need 75% support. 

The mysterious Concerned Growers Collective has told growers a ‘yes’ vote “will lock in a new strategy for Zespri whereby it earns 85% of its profits from licences that should belong to you and New Zealand, and also allow it to grow and sell kiwifruit from anywhere in the world (other than China and Chile) ahead of yours”. 

The group, which would not field someone to speak to Rural News, claims on its website and in printed material that members are second generation growers who wish to remain anonymous to ensure discussion “is focused on the issues not personalities”. 

“Sadly, there is a history in the industry of personalising and characterising issues, which distracts from sensible and informed debate,”  the group says in a statement.

“While these resolutions are good for Zespri shareholders, there are significant risks to New Zealand kiwifruit growers that have not been considered fully or even debated by the industry.

“A ‘yes’ vote will permanently change the drivers of Zespri from marketing New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to a corporate that is focused on the international fruit trade and variety development to the benefit of its shareholders.”

The group claims it has sent letters to all growers through NZ and is getting positive support. It says the resolutions are in essence asking growers to approve:

- Zespri moving from a marketer of NZ-grown kiwifruit to a grower in offshore countries including other southern hemisphere countries 

- Marketing kiwifruit grown in those countries 12 months a year

- Owning, using and managing kiwifruit plant variety rights developed in NZ by Zespri and Plant & Food Research Ltd, using funding from the Government and growers.

The collective says it supports the single point of entry and that NZ has desperately fought to maintain that status under international pressure to deregulate. 

“Ownership of PVRs by Zespri will greatly decrease our ability to defend this position,” the group claims.

“The proposal to entrench ownership of kiwifruit varieties also misappropriates the investment of NZ growers and the NZ taxpayer in the kiwifruit industry, particularly the new varieties of kiwifruit being developed by Plant & Food Research Ltd for Zespri.”

The dissidents want grower ownership of PVRs under a separate entity.

More like this

Seeking 300 workers

RSE workers from Malaysia unable to leave their country because of a coronavirus lockdown there has led to a labour shortage for Seeka.

Is Red the new Green for Zespri?

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri says some key markets will soon be able to enjoy red kiwifruit following a recent decision by its board to commercialise a red variety for New Zealand growers.

Global ambitions for T&G

T&G Global wants to continue its transformation towards becoming the world’s leading, premium fresh produce company, says chief executive Gareth Edgecombe.

Best of the best for Ahuwhenua Trophy

Three vastly different kiwifruit orchards make up the finalists in the inaugural Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for the top horticultural enterprise in the country.

Featured

 

COVID-19: Tax relief for M. bovis farmers

Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Flying high

This old mutt would like to know how the sanctimonious Green Party and its MPs can continue to lecture everyone…

Put it down

Your canine crusader notes that the woke folk at Landcorp – sorry Pāmu – were recently crowing about recording a…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Rules driving farmers out

New farming rules around sustainability are driving elderly farmers out of the dairy industry, says agri-economist Phil Journeaux.