Earthquakes and bad weather will impact horticulture

16 Nov 2016



It has not been a great start to the week for some of our growers, with the earthquakes and now bad weather hitting the top of the South Island and lower North Island.

Horticulture New Zealand President, Julian Raine, who is based in Nelson, says to remember that we at HortNZ are here for you, and if you have concerns, information on issues in your area, or anything you need help or support with, please contact us. To respond appropriately, the Government needs a clear picture of where assistance is required; we need to hear from you so we can make submissions to Government.

Horticulture has been relatively fortunate, in that damage from the earthquakes has not hit growers' properties too badly, with a couple of exceptions,  but the earthquake damage to the domestic transport network and the bad weather will have negative impacts for some growers in the weeks ahead.

What we know so far is that there are likely to be some issues around:

Transporting produce and shortages: Road closures, rail interruptions, reduced inter-island ferry services making the North-South flow, and vice-versa, unpredictable, will impact some fresh crops. This might spell shortages or no supply in some areas, and could mean juggling distribution so that fresh crops are sold locally rather than sent out of the area. Delays due to road closures and use of alternate and sometimes longer routes could also impact on delivering fresh produce.

Staffing, harvesting and damaged crops: Staff who have been through the earthquakes are understandably impacted and may not want to come to work, or may be tired and distracted when they do. Look to local support networks if you need help managing this. Staff stress combined with the bad weather is likely to impact harvesting.

Damaged crops due to the rain: While many growers are out harvesting in the rain, some crops have been destroyed and won't be marketable; we have reports of silverbeet being flattened by the rain. Also, some fresh crops don't travel well when they are saturated, and so won't make it to market. This is likely to cause shortages and, potentially, higher prices.

There will be challenges coming over the next few weeks for growers, so make sure you get the support you need. Most important of all, stay safe and follow the instructions of Civil Defence and Police in an emergency.

If you have anything to report email us at


- Mike Chapman, CEO