Newsletter # 15 2018

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In this issue

  • Import matters
  • Biosecurity updates
  • One Billion Trees
  • Young Hort grand final
  • Cyber security reminder
  • NZ Rural Women Business Awards
  • Notices

Import matters

Import permit processing

Following the outcome of the PSA High Court case in the kiwifruit industry, plant importers have experienced significant problems in the processing of plant import permits, including MPI imposing a suspension on all permits for a number of weeks.

MPI have stated that this cautious approach is a result of this court case.

While processing has recommenced, there is a considerable backlog, and assessment of future import applications are now taking from 1 – 3 months rather than a fortnight as in the past.

These delays are creating an enormous amount of frustration for plant importers, costing time and significant financial losses.

NZPPI continues to work with MPI to ensure that our borders remain open for plant imports.

Border clearance though Auckland airport

Discussion about clearance delays identified ways to prioritise processes and to optimise freight handling and inspections. The need to work better with freight and customs brokers, undertake treatments and respond to non-compliance issues was identified. NZPPI is currently developing member guidance on these issues and their resolutions.

Seed testing

NZPPI continues to challenge a number of emergency measures that MPI has put in place for testing pelleted seed and petunia seed. These were imposed as temporary measures to address the risk of contaminated seed lines but have remained in place for more than a year at a significant cost to seed importers.

Test data indicates that the issues with contaminated seed have been addressed and NZPPI is questioning the need for ongoing testing at the current sampling rate.

All Import Health Standards are scheduled for review.

MPI has initiated a significant review of the plant imports system. This includes looking at the imports pathways and all import health standards. This is a significant body of work that will take a number of years to complete.

NZPPI will be very much involved in this review as it has implications for our members.

MPI manager Stephen Butcher has announced that the plants imports team will increase from 20 to 34 staff to advance this work and the backlog of risk analysis and import health standard (IHS) work.

Biosecurity updates

Impatiens Downey Mildew (IDM)

As you are most likely aware, IDM has virtually taken bedding Impatiens off the shelves this season. NZPPI was alerted to the presence of Impatiens Downy Mildew four weeks ago and once confirmed we worked with MPI Biosecurity Response Manager John Brightwell to agree what biosecurity action was required. MPI decided that IDM was not stoppable and as it only affects the species Impatiens wallerania, no eradication action would be taken. MPI therefore asked NZPPI to manage industry communication about the newly arrived disease.

A factsheet and retailer leaflet went out to the industry about IDM.

Hygiene management protocols were provided to NZPPI members.

NZPPI applauds the producers and retailers that voluntarily stopped supplying Impatiens wallariana once they became aware that the disease had arrived in NZ. It is hoped that a mildew resistant Impatiens will be available by next season or the following.

Read more on the NZPPI website.

Myrtle Rust

By October 2018, myrtle rust has been detected on 776 properties across most of the North Island and upper areas of the South Island.

The windborne nature of the disease means that containment has not proved possible. In response, MPI has changed gear from intensive surveillance and the removal and destruction of host plants to management of the disease over the long term.

The focus of efforts now is on a science programmes designed to lift understanding around the disease such as ways to treat myrtle rust, resistance and susceptibility, and to improve seed banking collection.

This newsletter item is a timely reminder that the New Zealand climate is heading towards myrtle rust season. Plant producers growing Myrtaceae are encouraged to use the NZPPI Myrtle Rust protocols and should refer to the NZPPI biosecurity information on the website.

One Billion Trees and beyond

Recent discussions with the government’s 1BT team have been very useful for two main reasons: We have learned that two thirds of the new trees will be natives and the project policy team is looking beyond the next 10 years to 30-40 years and; it is not only about climate change mitigation or regional development. It also has, as explained by MPI’s Chris Baddeley, a large focus on erosion reduction on farmland. Secondly, we understand that the government has placed a hold on grants and subsidies for not-for-profit nurseries, a point that NZPPI has advocated strongly on.

Government grants for the billion trees programme will come from an allocation of $240m from the Provincial Growth Fund. This will be split as follows:

  • $120m in grants for landowners, to help fund planting projects
  • $120m in grants for support programmes such as training, research, etc.

The government wants to see a big push now for the planting of an additional 40 million native trees by 2028, but beyond this, an ongoing increase in native tree planting. This means 6 million hectares of retired farm land may be planted, and changes to the price of carbon in the Emissions Trading Scheme will further encourage planting.

MPI discussed regulatory mechanisms that are on the horizon to increase planting, such as a National Environmental Standard for Forestry which may require environmentally sensitive areas to be planted in native trees. The government may require some eroded land to be retired for native plantings.

This, in the long term, is good for native tree nurseries but only if the funding and support model is fair.

At the forum on 3 October NZPPI members voiced their concerns about the standard and condition of plants that would be part of 1BT and questioned whether MPI had any way of monitoring this. They also questioned the lack of planting plans. They have already seen the scenario of low standard plants (sometimes of the wrong type for the area), that are too small but considered ready to plant, and no labour force ready.

Evidently the government is drawing on the regional councils to coordinate this work, but they are also very interested in how NZPPI can assist connecting growers, land owners and planting teams.

We plan to meet with the national regional council leader’s group tasked with native tree planting projects about their tendering approach to planting projects, lead in times and eco-sourcing.

Young Hort grand final Thursday 8th

NZPPI Young Achiever, Devin Westley has been busy working on several projects towards the Young Horticulturalist 2018 competition.

Devin is one of six finalists and represents the nursery industry. He will compete in Auckland on the 7th and 8th November, with the awards evening on Thursday 8th. The grand final offers a prize pool of more than $35,000.

From left: Finalists Devin, Morgan, Kae, Danni, Annabel, Gracce

“Soon after the introduction seminar in September, I flew to Growing Spectrum and spent 2 days with Peter & Carol for coaching and help planning my study approach for the weeks leading up to the big day.

“For my research and development requirements I enjoyed visits to Egmont Commercial, Daltons and Headford Propagators.

“All finalists have just completed short reports about our community engagement and volunteer work, career development goals, and CVs which, exhibit leadership in our last 5 positions,” Devin explains.

Devin is now cracking on with the final preparations for competition day and getting the finishing touches on his AGMARDT presentation.

“I've had designs and costings of my products made with Plowright industries, Oji Fibre Solutions and worked in with Orora packaging here in Christchurch to produce my first stage prototypes of a cardboard freight liner for small grade plants.”

He says entry to the competition is a great opportunity to network with industry leaders and get career exposure.

NZPPI acknowledges Young Achiever Award sponsors, HortFertplus and Horticentre Trust, and the judges Trina Tully, Liza Whalley, Helen van der Werff and Lisa and Andrew Bowman. Thanks also to Peter & Carol Fraser for their time with Devin.

NZPPI is tremendously proud of Devin’s achievements and wishes him well for the competition, as are Southern Woods Nursery where he is a retail sales consultant.

Tickets to the dinner & Awards ceremony are still available.

Cyber security reminder

Late last month we were informed that early this year an unused database situated in the back of the Gardening New Zealand website was accessed by an unknown party. Although this was a low-level event, NZPPI undertook a number of measures including removing unused web databases and adding further security to those remaining.

We contacted the members that had their details accessed and apologised to them for this breach. This unfortunate incident is a reminder to everyone to be vigilant about the security of information and to review your online business systems regularly.

NZ Rural Women Business Awards

NZPPI member Marie Taylor from Plant Hawke’s Bay is a finalist in the NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards. The overall Supreme Winner will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Tuesday, November 20.

Read more here.


  • It is time to renew your membership. Please refer to our recent postal correspondence.
  • A member survey will be coming to you soon, we need your answers to target and deliver NZPPI services going forward.
  • The NZ Flower and Garden Show NZPPI dinner is on in Auckland on Wednesday 28 November. We would love to see you there. Tickets are $90. Email Frances: if you would like to come or for more information.
  • Save the date: the NZPPI conference will be in Christchurch next year May 22 and 23 at the Tait Technology Centre

©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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