HortNZ is closely monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus situation and its potential impact on the horticulture industry. The situation is constantly evolving. Please keep an eye on the HortNZ newsletter as well as our website’s homepage. What follows are our latest updates.
- Essential Services Information- RSE workers- Labour and Jobs- Government Support- Food Safety- NZGAP and GLOBALG.A.P.- Staying well
This page contains COVID-19 information.
This page was archived on 25 June 2020. For the latest information, click here.Table of contents:
This page contains COVID-19 information.
Table of contents:
HortNZ has set itself up in the following way in response to COVID-19. Please call or email the person/s noted below if you have questions or concerns that fall into their areas.
HortNZ has put together some guidelines on the kinds of measures to have in place, when operating as an essential business under COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
Coronavirus or Covid 19 has impacted the world. Things that we have all taken for granted are under threat: unrestricted air travel, goods being rapidly shipped around the world and New Zealand being highly connected to the whole world despite being a long way from major population centres.
Updated at 11am
As a world we are focusing on people, with the World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, travel restrictions in place, and events being postponed or cancelled.
Updated at 7.30pm March 26
We have just received notice that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be visiting packhouses and other horticultural operations across the country from tomorrow.
We are now nearly a week into lockdown and I feel it is important for me to acknowledge the pressure and uncertainty that growers and others in our essential industry are under. From the reports I am getting, many growers are facing devastation with, as an example, no choice but...
These guidelines provide advice to horticulture businesses on the kinds of measures Horticulture New Zealand believes members ought to have in place, and to enforce, if they are to be granted and maintain “essential business” status under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 4.
Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in Germany has increased by 100% since they were hit by COVID-19. Empty fruit and vegetable shelves are being spotted every day at Swiss retail stores, as daily order volumes are around 60% greater than normal.
The government announced modifications to the wage subsidy scheme on 27 March 2020.
The New Zealand Treasury has released an assessment on the impact of COVID-19, which makes very depressing reading. Treasury’s most dire prediction is unemployment could reach 26% and almost a third wiped off Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
MBIE says door-to-door, local fruit and vegetable box deliveries can go ahead, but all COVID-19 anti-transmission measures must be in place
MBIE has just advised HortNZ that door-to-door, local fruit and vegetable box deliveries can go ahead, but COVID-19 anti-transmission measures must be in place, such as the 2m distancing rule and deliveries being done without individual contact.
We are all focused on doing our level best not to catch COVID-19.
MPI has provided responses to two more grower questions, as below.
An employer and someone sitting at home without a job have exactly the same problem: none of us know what is going happen as the country works its way through COVID-19.
We know a number of growers have questions about employment as it relates to welfare.
Like a dog howling at the moon, Horticulture New Zealand has been on about the need for New Zealand to have a food security policy and plan.
Learn more about the Health and Safety responsibilities of employers operating essential service businesses during COVID-19 Alert Level 4, and the consequences of not meeting health and safety obligations.
We all know we need to redeploy unemployed workers. There are numerous ways of finding people who are looking for work. The challenge is getting the right fit for both the worker and the employer, with the skills for the role.
Immigration New Zealand - part of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment - released on 1 April information that clarifies the situation for RSE workers and their employers. You can read the information here.
I am proposing that there is a third wave to New Zealand's COVID recovery plan. The first wave focused on the health of people. The second wave is focusing on the economy, with a large number of financial initiatives announced in last week's 2020 Budget.
The Government has announced that a new COVID-19 payment that will be available to essential businesses for essential workers from 6 April 2020.
It’s time to release our education from the shackles of the past. What worked pre-COVID will simply not work in the new world. If we try and replicate the current education system, growth and recovery will not be enabled.
A large number of growers are contacting HortNZ about produce they no longer have a market for due to the closure of independent fruit and vegetable stores and produce markets. Please note we are still in discussions with the Government about reopening the independent stores.
Getting the COVID recovery right falls to all the small to medium sized businesses around the country, be they urban or rural based. It is a fallacy to think the Government will provide the recovery.
Click here to read HortNZ's submission to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) requesting recognition of independent fruit and vegetable retailers as an Essential Service, which would allow them to reopen.
Even Auckland City is now realising the need to capture and store water. As a country, we are at a crisis point as climate change brings longer and more frequent droughts. Plants and humans need water to survive.
The Government has announced that a new COVID-19 leave payment scheme will be available to essential businesses for essential workers from 6 April 2020.
This week, the first round of the wage subsidy scheme ends. Businesses are now realising that there is an end to Government support and are asking, ‘where to next?’ The wage subsidy, and the next instalment of it, only mark time.
In her daily COVID-19 press conference, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern took the time to praise the horticulture industry for continuing to feed New Zealanders, export produce overseas, and provide New Zealanders who are out of work as a result of COVID-19 with jobs, particularly in the kiwifruit and apple industries.
New Zealand is getting back to the business of making money with Covid Alert Level One seeing the re-opening of what was closed or restricted during Covid Alert Levels 4 and 3.
Due to the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, we were unable to print the April issues of The Orchardist and NZGrower. However, you can still read the magazines via the links below.
There is much we can learn from Covid, including international and New Zealand made lessons. The most critical is that the border is not secure. In the primary sector, we are only too aware that the border leaks. Biosecurity is one of our biggest concerns.
New Zealand onion growers are celebrating being able to export their world class crop to Indonesia again.
Are we going to take advantage of the many opportunities that Covid has presented us? After all, there are many downsides. The chance to remove unnecessary regulation is a key area in which we need to take advantage because unnecessary regulation stifles growth.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued guidance for the horticulture industry on operating under Alert Level 4 to:
Our urban water crisis has been coming for some time and is not just limited to Auckland. Many other urban centres around New Zealand faced severe water shortages last summer. This water crisis is no longer just a once in many years event. It is the future.
HortNZ’s Board has reviewed the events planned through winter this year and decided because of COVID-19, the following events are postponed:
The Fit for a Better World primary sector action plan was released by the Government on 6 July. It contains some seriously ambitious targets through three themes:
The Prime Minister has said that the Government will make a decision about whether and when the country will move to Alert Level 3 on Monday 20 April.
Our industry’s contribution to the Covid recovery would seem as simple of providing fresh healthy grown local vegetables and fruit. But since we emerged from lockdown, this has become much more difficult and can no longer be assured.
HortNZ is speaking with young people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown.This week we interview Dylan Hall, a second-year Massey agribusiness student, who comes from an orchard in Gisborne. Dylan is also current treasurer of the Massey Horticulture Society.
We are rapidly approaching spring and with spring comes harvest. First strawberries and asparagus, then cherries. At the same time, spring vegetable production steps up.
Otago Regional Council (ORC) has proposed a plan change to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago for the replacement of deemed permits with water permits, and for the replacement of any water permits expiring prior to 2025.
We pride ourselves in New Zealand as being innovators. The New Zealand horticulture industry is no exception to this reputation for innovation, with growers developing new and better techniques, constantly linking through to our sector’s research providers, for example Plant and Food Research.
The Prime Minister has announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. For an essential service like horticulture, the move to Level 3 will see retention of the same anti-COVID-19 transmission measures that were put in place under Level 4.
The different world we now live in requires us all to learn new skills. It requires us to interpret what is happening in new and different ways. It requires us to listen to signals about the future in a way we have never done before.
Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards winners praise NZGAP’s approach to making compliance straight forward
Woodhaven Gardens, the 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, are fans of how New Zealand Good Agriculture Practice’s (NZGAP) Environmental Management System (EMS) ‘add-on’ makes compliance more straight forward.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat healthy. Not only does healthy, locally grown produce boost your immune system, it also helps prevent diabetes and heart disease. So, getting that food to all New Zealanders is vital in these very trying Covid times.
HortNZ is speaking with young people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown.This week we interview Melissa van den Heuvel who was the winner of the 2020 Bay of Plenty Young Grower Competition and is an Industry Systems Associate at NZ Avocado.
Everyone having to cross the Auckland borders during Alert Level 3 – as well as the Police and Army who are managing the borders – is having a very tough time.
New Zealand Good Agricultural Practice (NZGAP) has joined the rest of New Zealand in the move contactless interaction.
Despite the best efforts of the Police and the Army, the Auckland borders, particularly the southern borders, have been very tough going for everyone. As with everything, there are lessons to be learnt, and these border lessons must be learnt before another Covid border is put in place.
New Zealand horticulture exports reached a record breaking $6.2 billion in the year ending June 2019 - an increase of $720 million from the previous year, and more than 10% of New Zealand’s total merchandise export income.
Across the country, businesses are closing or retrenching their staff as they try and deal with the realities of continued Covid lockdowns and border restrictions. No one knows how long this uncertainty will continue. The economic damage being caused by the Covid lockdowns and border restrictions will become clear in...
HortNZ is speaking with young people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown.
New Zealand’s immigration system wasn’t working before Covid hit, and it is clearly not working now. Today we have a golden opportunity to reinvent and reengineer our immigration system, which is largely paper based, complicated, and takes too long for applications to be processed.
A Bill to give Immigration New Zealand more flexibility during the COVID-19 response and recovery was introduced into Parliament on 5 May.
Our GDP has hit rock bottom at minus 12.2% in the June quarter, and on top of that, the Government has already spent the $50 billion recovery package. The financial cupboard is literally bare. Everyone is talking about the rebound and they seem very confident about it.
HortNZ says the plan change that Waikato Regional Council has notified is an improvement on the 2016 proposal but will still affect the local industry’s ability to meet future demand for vegetables.
Not only does New Zealand produce the world’s best fruit and vegetables, we are also producing the best people to grow the best produce. This is a collective effort across product groups, district associations and growers.
HortNZ has welcomed the 2020 Budget, acknowledging the Government’s support for the primary sector in the COVID-19 recovery.
There are two essential requirements for New Zealand’s recovery that are slipping away. Commentators and economists are talking about turning to robotics and artificial intelligence, as if they are a tap that can simply be turned on.
HortNZ is speaking with young people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown. This week we interview Regan Judd who was the winner of the 2019 Hawkes Bay Young Fruit Grower Competition and is currently working for T&G Global.
The Government might change, but the challenges facing it will not. As Europe goes back into full on Covid lockdown, our first flight to Australia without quarantine requirements has taken off, with around 200 passengers. At the same time, there is a charter flight from Russia with fishermen to keep...
HortNZ is speaking with younger people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown. This week we interview Summer Wynyard, the recently appointed Student Liaison at New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc.
Freshwater quality and climate change mitigation are inexplicably linked to the whole country creating a sustainable environment. This job is for both urban and rural New Zealand to tackle together. What is often missed is how creating a sustainable environment is linked to businesses being profitable.
If you clicked on a link to Farm Environment Plan article in the HortNZ Newsletter, please click here.A survey showing that New Zealanders rate horticulture more highly than any other part of the primary industry sector is rewarding for fruit and vegetable growers across the country.
When I did an internet search, I found that there were just under one billion ideas about what sustainability means. The classic dictionary definition is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level” or the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an...
A new initiative – called GoHorticulture or GoHort – to attract people to horticulture by showcasing careers and opportunities comes at a time when the industry is on the hunt for people to help with the post-COVID recovery.
Photo from Plant & Food Research.
Farm Environment Plans have come out on top as the best way for vegetable and fruit growers to manage their environmental impact and at the same time, provide evidence to regulators.
House prices across the country have risen nearly 20% to a median $725,000 in the past 12 months. At the same time, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank has announced a $28 billion programme aimed at forcing down borrowing costs and left the official cash rate at 0.25%.
Horticulture New Zealand says the Government’s decisions around freshwater recognise the importance of growing fresh fruit and vegetables in this country.
Eight months ago, New Zealand went into Covid Level 4 lockdown, and our world changed. Nothing this year has been normal, and nothing has been predictable based on past experiences. The first casualty of Covid was our health, then our freedom of travel and they were quickly joined by the economy.
The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
There is a belief that the way to get New Zealand out of the economic recession we are in is automation: robotics and artificial intelligence. I have to say that in Government circles in Wellington, this is often a firmly held belief.
HortNZ’s complete Annual Report for 2019-2020 is available here.
Two small populations of an unwanted horticultural pest, the tomato red spider mite (Tetranychus evansi), have been found by Biosecurity New Zealand (the biosecurity arm of the Ministry for Primary Industries) on nightshade weeds at two Auckland locations during routine and follow up surveillance.
HortNZ says New Zealand needs more water storage schemes like the one just announced for Northland.
BNZ’s survey confirms horticulture’s readiness to support post-Covid recovery, says Horticulture New Zealand
Horticulture New Zealand says the findings of a Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) survey of the horticulture sector confirm that horticulture can fully support New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery.
Ann Owen of Aongatete has pledged $150,000 to the Katikati Innovative Horticulture Trust project to build an educational facility in Katikati.By Elaine FisherAnn Owen of Katikati believes so passionately in both education and the horticultural industry she has pledged $150,000 to the project to build a dedicated horticultural facility in...
HortNZ continues to advocate on behalf of growers in several regional council plan changes. Here’s a brief update.
Horticulture New Zealand says it backs moves to introduce a national standard for organic products through the Organic Products Bill, currently before Parliament.
The New Zealand Defence Force has begun taking more than 1000 Vanuatu nationals home. Photo: NZDF
Two populations of the tomato red spider mite (Tetranychus evansi) were found on nightshade plants near Auckland Airport and in Pakuranga as part of routine surveillance several weeks ago.
Alex Tomkins is already making waves within the horticulture industry, despite not yet having left Massey University. Now in the final year of studies for her Bachelor of AgriCommerce degree, Alex is majoring in International AgriBusiness with a minor in Horticulture and is also president of the Massey Horticulture Society.
Horticulture New Zealand says the horticulture industry’s future focused strategies align well with what is proposed in Fit for a Better World.
Horticulture New Zealand says while it welcomes increased government support and flexibility for the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers who are still in New Zealand waiting for repatriation back to the Pacific, the decisions should have come a lot earlier, says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Immigration has granted a special direction to issue new limited visas to stranded Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers who qualify.
We sent out an update on the changes to the RSE scheme that were made on 8 July. These changes offer increased flexibility and certainty for those involved with the scheme. You can read our update on what these changes include here.
HortNZ Chief Executive Mike Chapman and Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor at the launch in Nelson. Photo: Summerfruit New Zealand.
Due to the Minister of Immigration having had surgery, he will not be able to do the webinar scheduled for 2pm Friday 17 July because he has no voice.
FEP workshops are restarting in Pukekohe for growers in Auckland and Waikato. The workshop series will get underway in August, and run through to November 2020.
Post-Covid, the New Zealand horticulture industry has a critical role to play in our country's economic and social recovery. Horticulture New Zealand's election manifesto has been written with that role in mind because if horticulture is to spearhead New Zealand’s recovery, the next government needs to take immediate action in...
This page contains COVID-19 information.
Table of contents:
The Government has announced that it is extending Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visas by six months, allowing these workers to stay and work in New Zealand.Immigration New Zealand will contact all RSE employers whose workers visas are expiring.
Work the Seasons has included the availability of Employer to Employer private chat on the Work the Seasons Platform. Work the Seasons have provided details below on how to use the Employer chat to get the most effective results.
This page contains information relating to the current COVID-19 situation.
Table of contents:
Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed the Government’s latest immigration changes, saying they offer support to stranded backpackers and RSE workers as well as the New Zealand horticulture industry at a critical time.
Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed government support for Farm Environment Plans, saying the horticulture industry is already well on the way to implementing Farm Environment Plans across the country.
As part of a new set of Warrant of Fitness KPIs that were introduced earlier this year, HortNZ has compiled the results for the 1 April to 1 September period. Click here to download the WoF KPI results.