Friday, 25 October 2013 11:30

Support sought for levy

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Summerfruit NZ is seeking grower support to continue levy funding for another six years. The Summerfruit Commodity Levy Order must be renewed every six years and was last renewed in 2008.


The ballot will be held in November this year in order for the Minister to approve a new levy in time for the 2014-15 season.

Voting begins on November 1 and closes on November 29, and this time voters have the option of fax, postal or online voting. Chief executive Marie Dawkins says online voting is a simple system.

"We've had really good feedback from those who have used this voting system for the Hort NZ and Pipfruit NZ levies, so we expect few problems."

Consultations with growers have been ongoing since May, with chairman Gary Bennetts, vice-chairman Tim Jones and Marie Dawkins touring the country and meeting growers on their orchards. Bennetts says the group met with many growers they seldom see.

"We made a real effort to get off the beaten track and catch up with growers in other growing areas. It was an interesting and rewarding process meeting so many growers on their properties."

While discussions about projects had been lively, Dawkins says there has been almost no negative feedback about the levy itself and growers clearly understand the way the levy is being invested.

"Support appears to be strong and we are hopeful of a positive outcome. Our biggest concern is voter indifference with voters not taking the time to submit their vote."


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