Newsletter 2 August 2019

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In this issue

  • Shed meeting at Twining Valley
  • Biosecurity Act overhaul
  • Plant Import rules
  • Prunus Import Health Standard
  • Science sub-committee
  • Regional visits: Pukerau Nursery

Shed Meetings Offer Opportunities to Learn & Debate

Shed meetings are a new opportunity for NZPPI members and stakeholders to catch up and engage in discussions and debate.

Around 40 people, including the NZPPI board, attended the first of these regional meetings, held at Andrew and Lisa Bowman’s Twining Valley Nursery in Mangatawhiri, North Waikato.

The shed meeting began with a tour of this award winning nursery which specialises in hedging systems for landscapes, followed by a demonstration of agrichemical application by Waikato based consultant Dr John Paul Praat.

Dr Praat demonstrating uneven spray coverage at Twining Valley Nursery

In the open forum discussion, members shared their views and concerns on a range of topics, including the future of myrtle rust, the Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme (PPBS) and GIA.

Shed meetings provide an opportunity to provide feedback to NZPPI about your views and priorities. We will be announcing future shed meetings soon, so keep an eye out for one in your region, and let us know if you would like to host one.

Push for Better Crisis Management

While we welcome the review of the Biosecurity Act, we want to see significant improvements in how it deals with biosecurity response. Consequently, we’re looking to have an active role in shaping the changes.

In recent years our sector has had more than its share of experience with the Act through the myrtle rust and fruit tree PEQ crises, the Impatiens Downey Mildew (IDM) incursion and more. This has left us with a lot of questions about how the Act works and is implemented.

We believe the current Act enables decisions to be made based on views and opinions, rather than science and evidence. So we are encouraging the government to work better with industry to achieve better outcomes in a crisis.

In addition, we are looking for improvements in the way that compensation is dealt with and how decisions are made around the trade-offs between biosecurity and the rights of individuals and businesses.

The consultation process will continue over the next 12 months with the whole process expected to be completed late 2020. We will keep you updated as the review progresses.

Changes Needed for Plant Imports Rules

NZPPI has lodged a submission on MPI’s proposed changes to the offshore facilities standard, following a comprehensive analysis of the Government’s proposals.

Our submission reflects the sector’s commitment to protecting the country from biosecurity threats, while ensuring that we continue to be able to access clean plant material and new genetics from around the world.

This is vital to ensuring that our plant based sectors remain globally competitive and so that we can continue to have access to new varieties of plants and high quality healthy food.

While our plant imports framework has biosecurity at its heart, years of piecemeal changes have resulted in a system that is complex and difficult for offshore suppliers to engage with. Plant importers are getting strong feedback that our rules are difficult to meet and, as a small market, the extra steps are often not worth the effort.

Membership Feedback Drives Submission

Our submission on the proposed changes to import rules reflects feedback from a series of plant producer meetings and workshops which highlighted the importance of rules that are technically justified, transparent and balanced.

We made 10 recommendations about aspects of the standard we thought needed to be refined or better defined to reduce the risk in the process. Our submission was based on these three points:

  • The communication timeframes MPI expect are unreasonably short.
  • All risks are treated the same and it is unclear what issues are critical vs those that are minor.
  • The proposal requires offshore facilities to use NZ systems and databases that are not easily accessed overseas.

Science Sub-committee to Meet

The NZPPI science sub-committee will hold its inaugural meeting in Tauranga on Tuesday 6 August. Science and innovation is a key strategic goal for NZPPI; creating knowledge and tools that provide tangible value to members.

The 2017 NZPPI Science Summit identified issues driving the need for science and innovation in the plant production nursery, and we consequently developed a Science and Innovation Strategy following on from the workshop. The strategy aims to:

  • Help deliver on NZPPI’s vision
  • Guide science investment by both government and industry
  • Influence research providers in relevant research areas over the next five years, and
  • Provide direction to improve technology and knowledge transfer to NZPPI members.

The sub-committee members include representatives from four member nurseries, along with CRIs and the Biological Heritage-National Science Challenge.

Regional visits: Pukerau Nursery, Southland

Maree and James Holloway bought Pukerau Nursery on the outskirts of Gore just two short years ago, a big step up from the small home-based nursery they had in Invercargill to support local community and environmental projects.

James has always had a keen interest in the environment and has had a career working for the likes of DOC, regional council, and Fish & Game. Previously Maree worked in the Victoria University nursery team, where the focus was on growing local eco-sourced native plants, from here her interest in native plants has grown.

“We are all about eco-sourcing,” says Maree. “We specialise in native plants for the local area. We source seed locally, from Central Otago to coastal Southland, and keep track of where plants came from right through until sale.

“Depending on where the property is, we will recommend plants that we know will thrive – often this differs from the list they have from their designer.”

“Sometimes they listen to us, sometimes they don’t,” says James with a laugh. “But we have been surprised by the level of new clients coming to us with long lists of plants they want.

“If anything, we’re having to learn to say no. At the moment we should be potting plants on for next season, but we could probably sell them now!”

James and Maree Holloway


©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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