Pelleted seed and tissue culture import issues, employment checklist, GERMAC, BMSB, Science and Innovation Summit, Primary ITO update, Minimum wage and working over Easter, El Niño in 2017?, biopesticides on the rise ...

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  7 March 2017
Tissue Culture Imports

Emergency measures for Xylella (a bacterium) in tissue culture of host plants, were implemented last week. The list of genera affected by Xylella has and will continue to increase as the pathogen moves across Europe. Essentially tissue culture imported from a country free of Xylella must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certifcate to that effect, whereas tissue cultures imported from a country that is not recoginsed as Xylella-free will required an import permit, additonal phytosanitary certifcate declarations and must be deflasked into post-entry quarantine. Checkout MPI’s notice for more detail.

NZPPI and some importers are working to identify methods to ease the impact of these requirements. If you rely upon imported tissue culture, please contact John

Pelleted Seed

In March 2016 MPI issued emergency measures requiring additional testing of pelleted seed imports. These would have placed considerable burden on importers of ornamental and protected-crop vegetable seed. NZPPI and others were successful in having three risk groups recognised, whereby most varieties in these categories was subject to minimal testing. This was a temporary measure while MPI established more appropriate risk management protocols.

We've kept in touch with MPI through this period and met with them late February to discuss progress. They’re considering a range of management options and have agreed to our proffering a proposal that best suits our industry.

NZPPI needs to gather data on the seed production and import pathways and recommend specific risk management protocols in various stages. To do so we need the help of all who import pelleted seed – please contact John Liddle –

NZPPI Employment Checklist

NZPPI’s member-only employer checklist “ships” this month. It’s a “does and don’ts” of the employment process, trial periods, disciplinary procedures, fixed/casual/part-time agreements … and heaps more. Coupled with NZPPI’s member deal with the EMA, it’s an essential tool in getting the employment process right ... and keeping staff management onside.

It’ll be emailed to NZPPI members.

More member-exclusive guidance is under developmen for release in the next month:

  • Drug and alcohol policy.
  • Nursery stock valuation.
  • Spray dift indicent response.
  • Cyber-security checklist.

Not a member? … join here!


GERMAC (plant imports) met early March with the main agenda items being a workshop on work that could improve the ability to import germplasm.  It was very fruitful with some twenty items being identified.  Each was assigned a score for impact/effectiveness and ease of achievement.  This will lead to a prioritisation process and work to investigate and/or implement those with greatest promise.

Other issues discussed include

  • Good progress among PEQ operators in preparation for the new facility standard – effective 8 March.
  • Feedback from a workshop to discuss the bottleneck through Level 3B quarantine space.
  • Reviews of several import health standards and schedules.
  • Risk management for Xylella.
Brown marmorated stink bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a major threat to the New Zealand economy and the public. It's high on horticulture's most unwanted list, plant production included.

It's in Asia and Europe, and has aggressively invaded the USA, where its caused millions of dollars of crop damage – rapidly rendering fruit and other produce unsaleable for example. It’s a tremendous public nuisance too, readily invading houses in cooler conditions.


Hitch Hiker Risk - keep an eye out


In winter the stink bug hibernates in sheltered spaces; in buildings and vehicles for example. Thus cargo, containers, vehicle imports, personal luggage and mail are risk pathways for entry into New Zealand, especially during our spring to autumn seasons.


If you've purchased goods that have been recently sourced from Europe, Asia and the US, please check for any sign of BMSB hibernation. This includes personal goods such as items purchased over the internet - see MPI's web-page and fact sheet.

If you find one, or suspect you've found one, catch it, photograph it and call MPI’s Exotic Pests and Diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66.


Ruud Kleinpaste on BMSB


NZPPI's BMSB webpage


Plant Producer Science and Innovation Summit

SAVE THE DATE - Rotorua, 4 & 5 May

A step change towards a new plant technology platform for New Zealand plant producers

It’s time to kick start NZPPI’s science, innovation and technology strategy, and we need your help.

A key factor to industry health and wealth is a sound technology platform. It drives productivity, and its benefits are widely recognised:

  • The avocado industry’s worth nearly $200 million – in 2014 they leveraged $4.28 million in government money for their “Go Global” programme – it’s generating massive improvements in productivity and industry returns
  • New Zealand’s wine industry exports around $1.6 billion worth of wine – driven by a $10 million annual R&D budget
  • The kiwifruit industry’s exports hit $1.7 billion in 2016 – again built on a strong R&D platform of some $20 million per annum.

The plant producer industry’s R&D spend and its share of government’s $2 billion science budget?
Not much, and nowhere near enough however it’s measured. We’re worth around $500 million, and the models above show that together we could be attracting, leverageing and investing at least $3-4 million per annum into R&D.

NZPPI’s mandate includes a strong R&D emphasis and we need you to join us in Rotorua for a two-day science and innovation fest.

We’ll have more details as they develop. Lock 4-5 May in your diaries now & check out travel – we'll start at 9:45am on the Thursday, finishing after 3pm on Friday. It’ll be one of the most exciting things to happen in our plant producer industry in decades.

Nursery Production Training Update

The Primary ITO’s Nursery Production Industry Partnership Group (IPG) met mid-February and refined its Vision Plan. An early outcome sees the ITO working with the IPG to develop social media presence for employers and trainees. It’s intended to build a community of interest, encourage employers and trainees and provide a point of connection for people all over New Zealand who are involved in nursery training.

Qualification redevelopment (under TROQ) continues with programmes for Level 2 through to Level 5 either signed off by or submitted to NZQA. IPG members will shortly meet with the ITO’s Education Team to provide feedback and help develop trainee resources and discuss programme delivery and assessment processes.

Other matters discussed include:

  • Alternative training and funding models
  • Garden retail training

The IPG next meets in May – if you’ve a training issue that needs discussion contact John Liddle ( or an IPG member - The IPG next meets in may – if you’ve a training issue that needs discussion contact John Liddle ( or an IPG member - listed on our website

Employment Matters

Minimum Wage increases 1 April 2017

The minimum wage increases to $15.75 per hour on 1 April 2017. The starting-out and training minimum wage rates will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour - remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage. More detail at Employment New Zealand

Working over Easter - 14-17 April

Only Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, and this impacts how businesses handle wage and holiday entitlements over the weekend.

Good Friday

Most businesses legally have to be closed on Good Friday.

If you’ve staff working on Good Friday (who would have usually worked that Friday), they need to:

  • be paid time and a half, and
  • get a paid day off later.

If staff work on Good Friday who do not usually work Fridays, they are paid time and a half — but do not qualify for a paid day off to take later.

If your business is closed on Good Friday normal public holiday rules apply.

Easter Sunday

If staff work on Easter Sunday, they are paid at their usual rate (no time a half and no paid day off later).

If staff usually work Sundays but your business is closed Easter Sunday, staff don't get a paid day off unless you offer one in their employment agreement.

Easter Monday

Normal public holiday rules apply.

Garden Retail Over Easter

Government changed the Shop Trading Hours Act in 2016. It retained the right for garden retailers to open on Easter Sunday if their “sole or principal business is the supply of plants or garden supplies or both”. But the rules changed in relation to how businesses need to engage with their staff, who have a right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday and they don’t have to give their employer a reason for refusing.

Employment New Zealand advises “Employers must:

  • Notify the employees in writing that they have a right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday
  • Deliver the notice to the employee. This could be in the form of a letter or memo delivered in person, or by email or via group email or in a way that is specified in the employment agreement. This must be done at least four weeks before the relevant Easter Sunday, but no earlier than eight weeks before the Easter Sunday. If an employee has started work within four weeks of the relevant Easter Sunday the employer must give this notice (of the right to refuse) as close to the start date of the employee’s employment as possible

If an employer doesn’t follow the notice requirements and requires an employee to work on Easter Sunday, this is considered to be compelling them to work and the employee could bring a personal grievance.”

Employment New Zealand have a template letter employers can use, and they've more detail on their website.

Coming Up
  • NZPPI Conference, Hamilton, 4-7 July. 
El Niño in 2017?

Could there be another El Niño phenomenon in 2017?

Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) believe there is a possibility of another El Niño phenomenon this year, even though this weather phenomenon usually reappears two to seven years after the previous one. According to experts, the so-called Super El Niño, which took place in 2015 and 2016, increased global temperatures to record figures and influenced the droughts that occurred in many parts of the world.

Ocean temperatures off the coast of Peru have increased by 1.5°C above the average, which has generated a coastal version of El Niño which, scientists say, could become a larger event, though the odds are against it ... more.

Biopesticides set to "overtake chemicals"

There will be more biopesticides on the European market than chemical ones within five to ten years, according to a leading microbiologist and agricultural adviser.   Europe is set to overtake the Americas to become the biggest market in the world for non-chemical pesticides, according to Dr Dave Chandler ... more


©2017 NZPPI
New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated
PO Box 3443, Wellington 6140
Level 5, 23 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
P: 04 918 3511 | F: 04 499 9589
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