Newsletter 21 June 2019

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In this issue

  • Plant imports advocacy
  • PGF survey results
  • Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme update
  • Native tree capability project
  • Conference video
  • Regional visits: Nudo Herbs
  • Welcome to new members
  • Membership drive

Plant imports advocacy

This week, a group of NZPPI members met with senior officials from MPI to discuss the ongoing issues with the plant imports system and to find solutions to the issues and a way forward.

We have been promoting the importance of plant imports to the plants industries. This includes importing clean or ‘elite’ plant material that is free from diseases and viruses, and importing new varieties of both ornamental and crop species, as well as tissue culture and whole plants.

We discussed:

  • the current lack of plant imports is a constraint to NZ's primary sector due to a lack of innovation
  • the current process is based on a zero risk approach. This view of plant imports needs to change
  • urgent action is needed to clear the backlog of imports
  • a long term plan to improve the plant imports system is required
  • There are a number of pointless rules in Import Health Standards that should be amended or removed.

At the joint planning meeting with MPI, standing, from left: Sarah Clark, Malcolm Woolmore, John Liddle, Matthew Dolan, Roger Smith, Steve Burton, Kathryn Hurr, and Bruno Simpson. Seated: Veronica Herrera, Pete Thomson, and Melanie Newfield. Behind the camera: Helen Gear.

Plant imports is a key advocacy area for NZPPI. While progress is slow, we are beginning to see some change and improvements.

Let us know about your experience with the imports system, whether it is getting harder or easier. Email Kathryn Hurr:

Survey confirms concerns about nursery subsidies

Earlier this month we surveyed members about the Provincial Growth Fund, asking whether it was an opportunity or a risk for nurseries. The feedback we received varied and indicated that the impact of the PGF differed according to the region and the type of nursery.

Here are some insights from the survey:

  • A majority sees PGF as more of a threat than an opportunity for the nursery sector
  • Almost everyone has a low level of trust in the grants process
  • Everyone is concerned about regional council and government procurement practices for plants.

Other comments from the survey included:

  • The oversupply of plants from new (subsidised) nursery production is a potential threat
  • Awarding grants to some while others have to take on debt is unfair
  • Examples where nurseries had been built with grants and then failed after the grants ran out.

The survey shows this issue is a concern to our members. NZPPI will continue advocacy work in this area at a high level.

While we support grants and investment in the nursery sector in areas such as research, skills, quality, and productivity, we believe direct grants for plant production and new nursery capacity is disruptive and threatens existing commercial nursery businesses.

It’s not too late to have your say. Contact us with your views on this issue.

Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme update

The Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme (PPBS) provides a framework to formalise and recognise work plant producers currently undertake to manage pests. It will help them identify, control, manage or avoid pest and biosecurity hazards in their nursery and production processes, protecting the producer, their customers, the environment and the economy from the inadvertent introduction and dispersal of a pest. Read more here.

Plant producers are at the frontline in this battle. We have seen increasing numbers of pest incursions over the past 50 years as international trade and travel have grown. Phytophthora cinnamomi, Pythium and Fusarium species are everywhere, and plant producers manage these, and other endemic pests, daily.

Olive trees killed by bacterium Xylella fastidiosa

Offshore threats continue to grow and, in the last decade, pest invasions in other countries have had devastating consequences over large areas. They present a critical risk to plant producers, the horticultural industry, the environment and the economy.

PPBS nursery pilot programme

This year, 20 nurseries are testing 2018’s PPBS design work through a nursery and audit pilot programme. Diane and John Coleman’s Treeline Native Nursery is one of these. They grow native plants for a wide range of revegetation, restoration and development projects. Their customers include regional councils, DOC, farmers, developers and private gardeners.

Diane (left) and Debbie from Treeline Native Nursery with Diane (right) of Asure Quality

“Having a biosecurity scheme within the horticulture sector is paramount to establishing standards and guidelines that we all follow to protect our places of work, establish confidence between individual businesses, and to future proofing,” says Debbie Porter who’s running the pilot programme at Treeline. Click here to read the full report from Debbie.

Native tree capability project

We have secured funding to get underway on a huge project aimed at characterising the native tree nursery sector and surveying growers to find out their most pressing issues.

Planning is underway for the survey and we’ve contracted Brendan Murphy to assist in running this and subsequent workshops.

We’re planning to visit as many regions as we can in July. We hope to drop into your nursery and get your thoughts on the important issues you are facing right now in your business. For example, workforce, economics and market, barriers to growth, and science & technology.

We need you!

We have enlisted the help of four members to form a Special Interest Group for this project. They are Jane Straka of Scrub Growers; Heath Worsfold of Rural Design; Marie Taylor of Plant Hawkes Bay; and Diane Coleman of Treeline Native Nursery.

However, we need two or three more members for this SIG, particularly those of you that grow natives as part of your mix. Your role will be to provide your expertise during a workshop with NZPPI on the findings from the survey data and help to guide the conclusions and recommendations for the project.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Kathryn Hurr:

A view of our Conference

Our 2019 conference, ‘Making Business Modern’, was a great success. For those of you that couldn’t make it this year, here is a short YouTube Conference video.

Be sure not to miss next year’s event.

Minister Damien O'Connor delivered the opening address.

Regional visits: Nudo Herbs, Bay of Plenty

During a visit to Bay of Plenty last week, Matt Dolan caught up with the team from Nudo Herbs.

Nursery supervisor Wade van Aardt is passionate about his product and the industry. Drawn to horticulture, he found he had a knack for it.

Having recently left South Africa in search of “a new challenge and a new future”, Wade and his family are loving life in the Bay of Plenty.

“Everything just grows so well here, it’s unbelievable,” he says. “And the people are so lovely.”

At Nudo Herbs, Wade has found the job of his dreams.

“I’m not driven by the corporate environment, I’m driven by like-minded people who are 95 percent passion. At Nudo, it’s not just a horticultural enterprise, it’s a lifestyle.”

The team at Nudo Herbs, from left, Maz Mischelewski, Toni Wallingford, Wade van Aardt, Jaz Singh, Alex Hardy, and Chenelle Jones. (Owner Sean Horan was away in China, coaching the women’s Rugby 7s team for the Olympics!)

Nudo Herbs grows culinary and specialty herbs for the wholesale and retail markets.

“My approach to business is to focus on the fundamentals,” Wade explains. “Our success lies in excellent plant hygiene and using parent stock of the highest quality.

“We pride ourselves on speed, dependability and flexibility. We want to ensure that customers get that perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality.

Teamwork is key to success: “Our staff is a great bunch of guys and girls who are all passionate about what we do – without that, it wouldn’t be as good.”

Welcome to our newest Members:

  • Horohoro Native Tree Nursery, Rotorua – Bill Young, Ronni Hale
  • Fern Factor, Christchurch – Paul Michael
  • Transplant Systems, Auckland – Chris Purchase
  • Mangawhai Natives, Kaiwaka – Ricky Panhuis, Jessica Costello
  • Awapuni Nurseries, Palmerston North – Henri Ham

Membership drive

Our sector is growing fast, but it is also facing some significant challenges. The NZPPI’s mission is to unite the sector and provide a strong voice for advocacy. To this end, we are on a membership drive, contacting nurseries to make them aware of NZPPI’s work and the value of membership.

If you know any plant producers that have not yet joined NZPPI, let us know so that we can follow them up and encourage them to join. Advise us at


©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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