Newsletter # 14 2018

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In this issue

  • Plant importation issues
  • One Billion Trees
  • Matt on the radio
  • Biosecurity Standard update
  • 2019 conference
  • Industry Dinner at NZFGS
  • Board visit to Canterbury
  • Welcome new members

Slow down seen for issuing of plant import permits

There are several issues that have negatively impacted plant imports over the past year, but the recent slow down in processing import permits reported by NZPPI members is frustrating for many.

Import permits that normally take 1 - 2 weeks to process are suddenly taking anything from a month to three months because MPI is suddenly and, without adequate communication, taking an increasingly cautious approach when approving import documentation.

This impacts the nurseries that rely on importing new plants and seeds regularly to keep refreshing their stock to keep it disease free and to keep up with market demand.

NZPPI has conducted an analysis of the impacts of these new processes, which found that the delays to the ornamental sector alone could cost the industry $10 – $15 million over the next year and potentially affect up to 100 jobs.

We don’t believe this increased scrutiny should cause these delays that are risking commerce. We want to see import permits processed within the 1-2-week period and the timeframes generally brought back into order.

We understand that this slowdown is in response to the PSA (Kiwifruit) court decision in June in which a High Court ruled that the Crown was negligent and breached its duty of care, allowing PSA to enter NZ. The court ordered payment of $450m to a group of affected kiwifruit growers.

MPI have imposed new processes over the past couple of weeks, but they have applied it retrospectively to import permits that were lodged months ago.

NZPPI is in discussions with senior officials from MPI to resolve these ongoing issues. We are holding a meeting with affected importers and MPI officials on 27 September to find solutions to the range of issues that have developed at the border in recent months.

Matt Dolan is continuing to pursue this issue directly with MPI until this problem is resolved. Please call him on: 04 918 3511 to feed into this issue.

One Billion Trees plants and planting issues

The Government has announced its initial planting targets for one billion trees programme which includes planting an additional 60 million trees over the next three years. This target is made up of 20 million exotic trees and 40 million natives.

There are currently 10 -15 million native trees planted per year. The government's targets will double that planting rate. For this to be achieved nurseries will need to produce an extra 13 million native trees per year.

We understand why this programme is a government priority and are supportive of it, but it should not disadvantage commercial nursery businesses.

NZPPI members are rightly concerned that competition from subsidised plants will increase as the one billion trees programme is implemented. This acts as a fundamental disincentive to investment in their own businesses.

There have been many big NGO nursery funding announcements recently, often in the millions of dollars. These are all reasonable initiatives but NZPPI wants to see a moratorium on further nursery announcements until comprehensive project planning is obvious and, a plan for nursery involvement so we know better what the demand for trees will be.

We assert that the next bunch of financial incentives and grants should be targeted towards entire planting projects, rather than plant supply. This ensures that plant supply is driven by demand and can be planned for by businesses.

While not for profit funded nurseries indeed have a role in the one billion trees programme by producing seedlings for planting projects that would not otherwise happen, they should not be able to engage in the commercial sale of plants, or in tendering processes.

To address this, the government needs to establish policy settings that ensure subsidised and funded plants do not undermine the price of plants for commercial nurseries and that commercial nurseries are able to operate in a marketplace that has a level playing field.

Another increasing concern is that the planting of these trees is rather ‘up in the air’. We want to see all grants to require proper planting schemes. Nurseries do not want to see their product wasted by not being planted out well and having a good survival rate.

A One Billion Trees forum is on in Wellington next Wednesday 3 October for our members to engage face to face with MPI and MBIE where these matters will be raised and discussed.

Matt on the wires

Matt Dolan, Chief Executive, was invited to an interview with Kathryn Ryan on 20 September about the One Billion Trees project. Here is the link in case you missed it.

Biosecurity Standard update

New Zealand plant producers are members of a team including government and other sectors representing the major plant buyers that are developing an industry biosecurity scheme to detect pests and pathogens and prevent their spread.

The scheme is designed to help prevent, prepare for and lessen the impact of a biosecurity incursion. This will aid protecting producers, their clientele and the environment.

NZPPI is contracted to lead the technical development to ensure that the scheme is pragmatic and reflects the needs of the plant production sector

The Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme (PPBS) design proposal is now complete. The draft scheme includes: a biosecurity standard and manual, a hazard management checklist, and a myrtle rust module. A scheme overview document and the draft scheme rules completes this suite. These can be downloaded here.

Stage 2 includes a pilot programme where the draft scheme will be field tested.

The proposed 12-month nursery pilot will draw upon the expertise (and existing strong biosecurity practice common to many) of a broad range of plant producers, who can "kick the tyres" to make sure the scheme makes a difference, is going to work and add value in practice to producers, their customers and other stakeholders.

Other stage two work includes participation drivers, a plant buyers' accord and regulatory options alongside work to:

  • Develop practical and user-friendly technical guidance, tools and resources
  • Identify diagnostic needs, resources and field and service options
  • Identify scheme skill and capability needs
  • Develop high risk pest modules, for example Kauri dieback and other industry sectors
  • Scope traceability through the nursery stock network
  • Pilot the infrastruture required for full industry implementation.

As we progress through the next stage, we’ll let you know how we’re doing and invite your feedback and discussion. You can also keep up with the play at and send feedback on any aspect of the scheme and our work to John Liddle,

Annual Conference 2019 in Christchurch

At the September Board meeting all agreed that the NZPPI conference will be held in the garden city next year and it will not be held during your Spring prep time. Rather, it will be held in late May so please keep an eye out for more information about this event.

The recent conference was a great success. This coming conference is being developed with the theme of innovation in buisness.

New Zealand Flower and Garden Show Industry Dinner

NZPPI and Gardening NZ have been generously offered a venue at the New Zealand Flower & Garden Show for an end of year celebration.

We would love to see many of you there for this end of year event. Of course, this is not so easy for people out of Auckland, but it may be well worth an overnighter in the big smoke. Please mark your diaries for a Wednesday 28 November evening to the famous gardening event of the year.

The $90 ticket price includes entry to the show, a two-course buffet meal, a couple of beverages, access to the cash bar and an evening with like-minded folk from NZPPI and Gardening New Zealand.

Please email for more information and to book. We will follow up this newsletter with an official invitation email.

Board visit to Canterbury

The September visits, evening event and Board meeting were both very successful. The member visits prove a great way to hear about member successes and concerns face to face, on the ground. The Board gain many ‘take-aways’ from these and members do too. An important aspect of NZPPI is to grow and share knowledge. The Board and Matt Dolan take that with them to their meetings and other events.

Mike Simpson, Greg Kitson (Ambrosia Nurseries) & Matt Dolan

Andrew Harrison, Blair Stuthridge (Arcadia Plants) & Vince Wylaars

Jo Burson, Southern Woods Nursery

The evening dinner at the Carlton Bar and Grill was very relaxing and convivial. Over 45 people joined the evening and evidently a get together like this has not happened for around 15 years. A big thank you to Sis Johnston and Ross Bayliss for their work to make it happen and their local NZPPI branch who financially supported the event. Also, thank you to Egmont Commercial for their sponsorship of before dinner drinks. And thank you to all those that came along and made it a great evening.

Several non-members were there, and we are following up with them as many showed interest in becoming members.

Pre dinner drinks

Sis Johnston and guests at dinner

Welcome to this year's new members

Plant Producer members:

Industry Partner members:

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©2018 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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