Newsletter 28 March 2019

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In this issue

  • Board Nelson visit
  • Conference 2019
  • Prunus IHS Review
  • Xylella research project
  • Plant Variety Rights review
  • Employment legislation changes
  • Minimum wage increase
  • Gumboot Friday

Nelson regional visit

The NZPPI Board held their quarterly meeting on the 18 and 19 March in Nelson.

Two nominations for the board positions of Retail and Producer were received from Greg Kitson and Mike Simpson. The position for the landscape, amenity and revegetation sector remains open at this stage and NZPPI welcomes nominations.

In the evening the Board hosted a splendid member dinner at the Apple Shed Bar and Grill on the tranquil and beautiful Mapua Wharf. Thank you to those that came along, it was a great member get-together.

Geoff Thorpe, Jacqui Jones (TNZ), Felicity Thomson (Mitre 10), Vince Wylaars, Greg Kitson

Ben Wickham, Ormond Nurseries, chatting with NZPPI Chair Andrew Harrison

A big thank you to TNZ Growing Products for supporting this event. We really appreciate their support of industry events and the Conference Gala Dinner.

Appletons Tree Nursery visit

Eric Appleton took the Board and Matt around his nursery at Wakefield and introduced them to some of his staff. The Board saw how Eric, through persistence over many years, has developed a fantastic production system. This includes achieving weed free beds by vigilance over the years. Eric is highly respected in our industry.

Andrew Harrison, Matt Dolan, Mike Simpson, Eric Appleton, Geoff Thorpe, Greg Kitson, Patrick Murray

One of the shed supervisors, Christine Lloyd (pictured below) has been happily working at Appletons for 20 years and says she loves the variety of work and the location being close to home.

Last year Appletons Tree Nursery celebrated 50 years of growing. They have been members of this association (as it was) since 1977.

Conference 2019 - just six weeks away!

It is our time. Our time to think, listen, learn and socialise with like-minded industry folk. Have you registered? Booked your flights? Got your accommodation? Are you bringing people with you?

This year is zooming by so we urge you to mark your diary and book flights early. Accommodation booking details at either the Sudima or Commodore hotels are on the conference webpage, and there are plenty of alternatives in Christchurch with a Google search. APEX car rentals are great value if you need a car.

Here is the Conference Programme. Register NOW!

We are pleased to have the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Damien O’Connor opening the 2019 NZPPI Annual Conference on 15 May.


We are still seeking sponsorship for the conference so that we can run it without a loss and keep the cost of attending to a level that we hope members can afford. If this is a possibility for your company at any level, please get in touch with

Prunus Import Health Standard Review

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are reviewing the biosecurity risks associated with imported Prunus nursery stock (apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum). It is taking a new approach to analysing risk and developing import health standards (IHS). This work is a priority for MPI and the time frame has been reduced from 18 months to 6 months.

NZPPI has been involved in this work from the start. We’re satisfied with the progress MPI are making. They have drafted a risk assessment and are now consulting with industry about what to include in the IHS.

NZPPI recently attended the pre-consultation meeting to go over initial proposals. Some of the items covered were:

  1. MPI are adopting a streamlined approach to risk analysis that puts more focus on assessing higher risk pests and less focus on those which are managed by minimum requirements, such as insects managed by insecticide treatment and inspections.
  2. The new Prunus standard will be released as a stand-alone document and look very similar to the kiwifruit (Actinidia) IHS published last year.
  3. MPI no longer intend to publish reduced post-entry quarantine (PEQ) requirements for material imported from accredited offshore facilities and will make the decision about the level and duration of PEQ on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Measures to manage fungal pests have been significantly strengthened and this could have an impact on the cost of PEQ in New Zealand and the feasibility of using accredited facilities offshore.
  5. The use of alternative testing methods, particularly those involving new technologies such as High Throughput Sequencing. These technologies could eventually replace some expensive and time-consuming methods such as woody (graft) indexing. Any change will be at least a year away and MPI need to run the new method in parallel with existing methods in order to validate the approach.

NZPPI are generally happy with the progress that has been made and the approach taken. We have some concerns over some of the technical requirements that MPI are considering, such as the use of environmental controls (temperature and ambient humidity) to simulate seasonal growing conditions. As currently written, these will be expensive and technically challenging to implement and could have a detrimental effect on the health of the Prunus plant material while in PEQ.

NZPPI are advocating for a safe and workable pathway and will remain involved in the review and consultation process.

Xylella reseach project

NZ Wine has initiated a research project 'Risks to NZ’s primary industries from Xylella’. This project is co-funded by the Xylella Action Group which includes a number of horticulture industry organisations.

At the completion of the project, the group will consider developing a GIA operational agreement for Xylella and begin to develop a response plan for an incursion of this disease. As Xylella has a wide host range, an operation agreement for this disease would have implications for most nurseries.

NZPPI is not part of the action group, but we will remain engaged with the group to ensure that the interest of nurseries are represented.

Employment Legislation changes

A reminder from our February newsletter that you must allow leave for staff experiencing domestic violence who need some time to sort out their health. The law also requires employers to be open to this type of engagement and discussion with staff as required.

Leave under this Act can be requested whether the violence is currently occurring or occurred at some earlier time, even if that was before the person came to work for the employer. But to be eligible the employee has to have been working continuously for 6 months with you.

Minimum Wage goes up on Monday 1 April

As employers that may on may not pay the minimum wage, you need to know that the minimum wage will increase to $17.70 per hour on 1 April 2019 – an increase of $1.20 per hour.

The starting-out and training minimum wage rates will increase from $13.20 to $14.16 per hour – remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage.

There is more detail here on the legal obligations and criteria.

Gardening NZ supports mental health fundraiser


©2019 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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