Call for fruit and vegetable growers to vote in HortNZ levy referendum

13 May 2024

Growers are being asked to have their say in the upcoming levy referendum to enable Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) to continue its work for the sector.

The levy is paid by all commercial growers on the sale of New Zealand grown fruit and vegetables. Growers have been sent a levy proposal document and voting papers are being sent to all eligible growers. Voting will be open from midnight 14 May.

A renewed levy would apply for six years, from the expiry of the current levy order in March 2025. The organisation is proposing that the levy rate remains at the maximum levy rate of 15 cents per $100 of sales.

HortNZ president Barry O’Neil encouraged growers to cast their vote and have their say on the organisation continuing its important work on behalf of New Zealand’s 4,200+ commercial fruit and vegetable growers.

“Running a horticulture business in New Zealand is often a 24/7 job,” says Mr O’Neil.

“However, we’re asking growers to take a moment from their busy schedule to vote in the referendum. Without the levy, the organisation will be wound up and there will be no strong voice in our sector.”

HortNZ chief executive Nadine Tunley said feedback from growers during consultation meetings held earlier this year shows that growers value the work of the organisation.

“Levies are used for a wide variety of programmes including policy, advocacy, labour and capability development. All things that have a strong focus on enabling the production of fruit and vegetables.

“Feedback during the roadshows confirmed we are broadly on the right track and reinforced to us that growers have the same top priorities as HortNZ - water, climate change and adaptation, and food security and supply.

“We also strongly heard the need for less duplication across different product groups and more focus on the strength of a united voice for all of horticulture. We all work very closely and collaboratively in many areas, and we will continue to be focused on this. We will continue to look at more ways of working together to ensure growers get the best return on their levy investments.

“By voting ‘yes’, growers will be supporting HortNZ to help them to make more informed decisions for their businesses, provide them with certainty to invest, give them tools, resources and services to lift their productivity and profitability, and ensure their voice is heard at all levels.”

Growers can vote online or by postal vote between 14 May-14 June.