7 October 2019

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In this issue

  • REMINDER: Native Nursery Survey
  • Plant production in the news
  • Submissions - PVR, Willow Aphid, Land & Water, Education
  • NZPPI AGM and Annual Report

REMINDER: Have your say on the native plant sector and the 1BT programme

NZPPI and Te Uru Rakau Forestry NZ are surveying native plant nurseries. If you have yet to respond, please check your inbox or spam folder for your invitation email and click on the link.

Please complete the survey by 20th October. If you did not receive the invitation but wish to take the survey, please email

Everyone who completes the survey will go into the draw to win a $150 Go Gardening Gift Card to be donated to a school of your choice.

Please contact if you have any questions about the survey.

Plant production in the news

The potential shortage of native seedlings made national media last month. ‘Trees That Count says it has received requests for close to 250,000 native trees for the 2020 and 2021 planting seasons - a jump from 50,000 this time last year. "We simply can't meet that demand without everyday Kiwis and businesses stepping up to fund, gift or donate a native tree for New Zealand's future," chief executive Adele Fitzpatrick said.’

Full story here.


NZPPI has made several submissions on industry issues in past weeks, including biosecurity, plant variety rights, and policy matters:

Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Act

This important piece of legislation supports the success of our sector. Many members propagate or own the rights to plants that are protected by the Act. Our submission supports the alignment of the future PVR regime with international obligations which would ‘give effect’ to, rather than acceding to UPOV 91. This is consistent with trading partners implementation of the international agreement while still enabling kaitiaki interests to be considered in a meaningful way.

Giant Willow Aphid

NZPPI supports the trial of a parasitoid wasp as a biological control for the Giant Willow Aphid. Our submission points out the damage the aphid causes to a wide range of hosts, as well as affecting surrounding plants with black mould. Several NZPPI members also submitted in support, and Biosecurity and Technical Manager Kathryn Hurr will speak in support of our submission at the public hearing.

Land and Water Policies

The Government is consulting on its freshwater policies. These policies are broad and there are long timeframes for full implementation. However, there is a requirement to begin to take action by 2022.

The government is proposing changes:

  1. Highly productive land – this proposed policy would restrict the development of highly productive land, e.g. for urban or industrial development, in order to preserve it for food production.
    Our view: This policy benefits plant producers as it preserves land for horticulture (our customers). To be effective this policy needs to also protect the factors that make the land highly productive. This includes ensuring access to water and that the land can continue to be used for growing. Also, the ability to build infrastructure, such a glasshouses, would need to be retained. Without this, the land would not be productive.
    We also believe that in addition to food production, the policies prioritise ‘wellbeing’ to protect land for the production of amenity plants.
  2. Fresh Water Quality – this proposal will add to the list of things that councils would need to consider when assessing water quality. Councils currently need to monitor around 20 different attributes and the new policy would add to this. We wonder if councils have the resources to undertake this level of monitoring.

There are no set timeframes for achieving the outcomes, however, producers must begin to take some action, such as developing farm plans. Depending on the region, the targets may not have to be met for as long as 50 – 80 years in the future.

The proposed rules would apply nationally, but only where local council rules were not as strict. The Government is requiring all regions to produce catchment specific plans within five years.

There are new rules proposed requiring a 10 metre buffer around existing wetlands. We are concerned that manmade reservoirs and storage ponds may be defined as wetlands in the policy. We would object to this.

What we think

Field producers, with a land title over 5 ha, will likely be required to develop an environment plan by 2022. Industry schemes, such as the FMS, will likely be adequate. NZPPI can assist members with this.

  • Except in sensitive catchments, the nutrient load will need to be reduced. We don’t believe that government should define the amount of fertiliser that growers use, this should be managed through Farm Environment Plans.
  • Rotation and short term use of land for production will be permitted.
  • Expansion of horticulture operations over 10 hectares will likely require additional resource consents and evidence of good management practice being met.

Additional points that we will advocate for include:

  • Defining glasshouse production as low intensity land use (due to its small area and high productivity), and therefore be exempt from the rules.
  • That the benefits of plant production, which supports sustainable land use in the primary sector, is recognised.
  • That the benefits of production of plants for food, gardens, landscape and revegetation are recognised.
  • That industry programmes (such as FMS) are recognised as meeting the requirements of the policy. We would oppose the use of Overseer for use in the plant production sector.

What happens next?

  • NZPPI is working with HortNZ and other horticulture industry groups on these issues.
  • We are preparing a submission, due at the end of October.
  • We encourage you to tell us what you think about these proposals and provide us with examples and insights that we can include in our submission.
  • As an industry, we should begin to consider how to develop industry standards that will enable NZPPI members to meet the new rules by 2022.

Review of Vocational Education

The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has confirmed that the government will progress with its Reform of Vocational Education.

NZPPI has made submissions on the review, saying the proposals are welcomed by plant producers to fix the critical issues with workplace training. However, the reforms must have greater recognition of smaller sectors and on-job training.

We welcome the regional approach to industry training. However, the announcement that there will be only seven Workforce Development Councils – potentially with only one council covering all of the primary sector – means that plant producers will have to continue to work hard to be heard. This may be a significant weakness in the new system.

We are also concerned about the balance of responsibilities and potential for conflict between the Workforce Development Councils and the Regional Skills Leadership Groups. It is great to see the establishment of Workforce Development Councils with greater control of funding, but our sector needs a greater regional focus than in the past.

Most NZPPI members deliver training on the job. We want to work with the Government to figure out how to shift its focus towards on-job training as a priority.

NZPPI will be working with other primary sector organisations as we continue to influence this policy and we will keep members informed and involved. We encourage all our members and trainees to continue to support training while the reforms happen. We need more trained people regardless of the outcome of this review.

NZPPI AGM and Annual Report

NZ Plant Producers Inc released its 2018-19 Annual Report last month ahead of the AGM, held in Wellington on 18 September.

The AGM focussed on challenges and opportunities facing our sector, and the need to unite the sector and work to protect the right for plant producers to operate.

The primary sector is under enormous pressure as it races to adapt to increasing expectations from consumers and government. This is showing in new regulations in critical areas like land and water, climate change, workforce and biosecurity.

These challenges are already impacting plant producers, but at the same time, our sector is uniquely positioned to be part of the solution. Whether it is supplying plants for riparian strips, carbon absorbtion, new varieties of food, liveable homes and suburbs, or for biodiversity, plant producers hold the key to helping solve many of these problems.

Members at the AGM discussed how these issues were challenging our sector and the need to accelerate our efforts to find solutions at a sector level. This requires the sector to come together and invest in the development of initiatives. NZPPI is focussed on increasing its membership to have greater mandate and revenue to pursue larger projects in the future.

Members attending the AGM were also treated to a workshop on business governance, led by Pania Gray from the Institute of Directors. Pania explained the value of boards and advisory groups as a way to get external input into business strategy and to get better outcomes from decision making.

A resolution was passed to reappoint Grant Thornton as the auditor for the 2019/20 financial year. This was supported by 100% of votes, with an action to consider looking at other audit providers in the following year.

Marie Taylor was confirmed as the new board member representing Revegetation and Landscape, after being nominated for this position unopposed in February. No further nominations were received at the AGM.

In general business, the issue of subsidised and government-funded plant production was discussed.

The Annual Report is available here.


©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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