5 March 2020

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In this issue

  • Young Achiever Award 2020
  • Conference 2020
  • SHED meetings last month
  • Corona Virus - employer obligations
  • Science subcommittee meeting
  • MPI consultations

Young Achiever Award 2020

Know anyone with the right stuff to represent our industry? Right now entries are open for the 2020 Young Achiever competition, to anyone in the nursery and garden industry who will be younger than 30 as at 31 December 2020.

The winner will collect a sack of prizes, including a fully-paid international trip to learn more about horticulture, automatic entry to the Young Horticulturalist competition, special guest attendance at the 2020 Plant Producers Conference, and of course, the coveted Young Achiever title and trophy.

The competition will be held on Auckland on 26 & 27 May, with the winner announced at the 2020 Plant Producers Conference dinner.

This is great chance to boost your career, and a unique opportunity for employers to build their team’s skills and co-operation.

Entries close 27 March. ENTER HERE

Conference 2020

The 2020 Plant Producers Conference – “Bringing Plants to Life” – will be held on 27 & 28 May at the Hotel Grand Millennium, Auckland.

NZPPI’s third annual conference is about our role in New Zealand’s sustainability story.

Building on our previous conferences showcasing our growing and innovative sector, this year we take a step back and look at the massive shift that is taking place in sustainability.

Our role is Bringing Plants to Life – by propagating the plants that all New Zealanders need to sustain our prosperity, our environment, our health and our quality of life.

Plants play a crucial role in addressing the issues faced by business, to soak up carbon, improve soil and water health, restore our natural ecology, liveable cities and healthy food.

Through strong leadership, our industry and your business will play a role in New Zealand’s transition towards more sustainable and prosperous business. This will be achieved by reducing waste, transitioning away from carbon, protecting our land and water and by ensuring our industry continues to look after its people.

Bringing Plants to Life is about understanding the role you play in a rapidly changing world.

All members are encouraged to bring their staff along, both for the business opportunities at the conference, and the networking opportunities at the conference dinner.

For more information go to the Conference webpage.

South Island SHED meetings

NZ Plant Producers held two more successful SHED meetings last month.

Appleton’s Nursery in Wakefield (south west of Nelson) hosted 40 nursery industry guests on a hot and sunny afternoon on February 26. Founder Eric Appleton was there to great his guests, and Eric’s son Robert gave a fascinating description of the multi-generational project converting hard clay soils into a fertile growth bed. Daltons speaker Geoff Bone gave a presentation on climate change and sustainability in the nursery industry.

Keith Roberts explains Appleton’s outdoor operations

And on 27 February 52 visitors gathered at Ambrosia Nursery in Prebbleton (south west of Christchurch). Ambrosia’s attention to detail was evident in the spotless presentation of the nursery, and processes designed with staff in mind. The pot lifter has been a great time-saver and saved sore backs in the nursery. Pots are lifted and brought back into the production shed, where staff can work on them at a comfortable height, weeding, feeding and trimming plants to shape. The hedge trimmer mounted on a purposely designed frame was another great example of this.

Ambrosia’s pot lifter halves the number of trips taken out of the potting shed

Attendees also heard from consultant Sarah Watson on the business benefits of LEAN farming processes.

Both groups enjoyed a presentation from NZ Plant Producers chief executive Matthew Dolan, with the latest updates on the industry’s relationship with government, followed by robust feedback on NZPPI issues.

Thanks to both hosts and their teams for putting on an excellent and edifying event, with informative speakers and great hospitality.

SHED stands for See, Hear, Engage, Debate.

If you’d like to host a shed meeting in your district, contact Matthew Dolan

Corona Virus - your obligations as an employer

Business owners are being reminded to look after their staff in the case of a corona virus outbreak in New Zealand.

While there is no outbreak at present, employers are recommended to plan for one, and to consult staff on their own response plans and obligations. As with all other risks, employers must keep their staff safe and well at work. And then there’s business continuity planning – you may already be experiencing shortages of everyday work materials like face masks and hand cleaner, as well as any materials produced in China.

In any outbreak the risk will be greater for public-facing roles (eg, retail) and for anyone attending public events.

For a summary of employers’ rights and responsibilities, see this article from, and additional information from Worksafe here.

Science subcommittee meets in Tauranga

NZ Plant Producers Science Subcommittee met again in Tauranga on 3 March. The Subcommittee is made up of Crown Research Institute scientists and NZPPI members with an interest in leadership in science and innovation. Priorities for investment in science have been identified as:

  • alternatives to agrichemicals and pest and disease management
  • plastic recycling and replacements
  • water efficiency and management
  • biosecurity diagnostics

Look out for our Autumn Science Update in April and information about a science symposium which planned for October 2020.

MPI consultations

MPI is consulting on changes to rules for imported seeds and nursery stock.

  1. Petunia imports will undergo the greatest number of changes. Permits to import for cuttings and tissue cultures will no longer be needed and non-GMO importer/exporter declarations can now be used instead of testing. Both these changes will reduce the costs and barriers to imports. Testing is proposed for a new viroid which will introduce costs for seeds. Nursery stock already has testing in place, so costs aren’t expected to increase.
    It is best to arrange testing offshore on mother plants as onshore testing costs around $195 for 5 plants (bulked sample) and $720 for seed.
    Other nursery stock species which will now require viroid testing include Verbena, Vinca, Vinca, Gloxinia, Nematanthus and Pittosporum tobira.
  2. New miticide treatments are being proposed to manage spider mites on cuttings, whole plants and tissue culture nursery stock. Some miticide treatments target all life stages of mites, including adults, eggs and nymphs, while others need to be used in combination to achieve control. NZPPI will review the costs and availability of these chemicals (both onshore and offshore) and present feedback in a submission to MPI.
  3. Hot water treatments are being proposed as an option for imported Cannabis sativa and Apiaceae seeds for sowing.

All consultations close in the first week of April.

If you would like to have a say in the NZPPI submissions, or would like any more information, please contact our biodiversity and technical manager Kathryn Hurr at


©2020 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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