Mike's Blog

 by Mike Chapman, HortNZ CEO

Consumers vs. Trade Barriers

04 Dec 2019 Consumers vs. Trade Barriers image

Waitrose supermarkets in the United Kingdom have announced that they will only sell UK farmed lamb as it is important to ‘invest in British agriculture’. Waitrose is now phasi...

No more locally grown, fresh vegetables for Wellington?

03 Jul 2019 No more locally grown, fresh vegetables for Wellington?  image

Being able to pop down to the local roadside market or, more lately, the weekly farmers market for fresh, locally grown vegetables is something that an increasing number of pe...

Infinite Suppliers of Food to New Zealand and the World

10 Jul 2019 Infinite Suppliers of Food to New Zealand and the World  image

I don’t think we realise how rapidly technology is changing, not only the way we live but how we work.  It is almost unseen and fortunately so far, we seem to be rapidly assim...

Pacific Island Labour Mobility

18 Jul 2019 Pacific Island Labour Mobility image

The Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) conference has been held in Vanuatu this week.  RSE is the name for the Pacific Island seasonal labour scheme where workers from the Pa...

Stopping growth and sustainability – The Reserve Bank’s proposal

29 Jul 2019 Stopping growth and sustainability – The Reserve Bank’s proposal image

The Reserve Bank's proposal is to nearly double the minimum amount of capital (equity) that banks are required to hold as a mitigation to a banking crisis.  The idea is the in...

‘Let them eat bark’

31 Jul 2019 ‘Let them eat bark’ image

New Zealand faces several climate change challenges, thanks to being an island nation and having an economy that relies on primary production.  One solution to our country’s c...

Guest Blog: Opportunity to help reshape the Biosecurity Act

12 Aug 2019 Guest Blog: Opportunity to help reshape the Biosecurity Act image

With Mike on leave, Deputy Chief Executive, Leanne Stewart has contributed this week's blog.   The review of the Biosecurity Act provides an opportunity for industry groups to...

Guest Blog: Getting prepared for a food safety incident

21 Aug 2019 Guest Blog: Getting prepared for a food safety incident image

With Mike on leave, Deputy Chief Executive, Leanne Stewart has contributed this week's blog. The safety of the fresh fruit and vegetables commercially grown by our horticultur...

Guest Blog: Improving the plant import system to support our innovation

27 Aug 2019

With Mike on leave, Deputy Chief Executive, Leanne Stewart has contributed this week's blog. This week, I took part in a workshop with representatives from industry organisati...

Where is the water?

02 Sep 2019 Where is the water? image

I’ve just returned from a holiday in Europe and Morocco (empty dam pictured). One of the hot topics up there is water, or the lack of water. This is because there has been les...

Forgotten aspects of water

06 Sep 2019 Forgotten aspects of water image

The Government released its consultation on freshwater this week (click here).  We are now busy analysing it in detail and it is really too early to reach a view about the ult...

The Urban / Rural Divide

11 Sep 2019 The Urban / Rural Divide image

The freshwater consultation launched by the Government last week has illustrated by just how much the urban / rural divide has grown.  For the first time, the degradation to f...

Month of Delivery

23 Sep 2019 Month of Delivery image

At the beginning of the year, the Government announced this would be the year of delivery.  Until September, it was a quiet year but then the floodgates opened.  New labour an...

The art of regulation

27 Sep 2019 The art of regulation image

The Government’s consultations on land use and freshwater quality unearth questions, both about how far the regulation should extend into how food is grown and to what degree ...

New Zealand Needs a Plan Not Regulation

07 Oct 2019 New Zealand Needs a Plan Not Regulation image

Cleaning up water quality and meeting the challenges of climate change will not be achieved through current ways.  That is, through the Resource Management Act, central govern...

New structures for new challenges

10 Oct 2019 New structures for new challenges image

Einstein famously said the definition of insanity is to do the exact same thing again and again and expect things to change.  Ever since he said that we have proved it to be t...

Water Quality Consultation

18 Oct 2019 Water Quality Consultation image

On 31 October the Government’s current round of consultation on freshwater quality will close.  The full details of this are on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.  Th...

Where’s the plan New Zealand?

27 Nov 2019 Where’s the plan New Zealand? image

The Ports of Auckland debate is a prime example of the lack of nationwide coordinated planning.  Being less than charitable, it would seem that the Ports of Auckland just happ...

Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change

25 Oct 2019 Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change image

The Government has just announced an agreement with the primary sector for that sector and not the Government to take the initiative to make climate change adaptations. This i...

Skilled Job Creation Crisis

31 Oct 2019

Despite the horticulture industry experiencing year on year growth, the headline is that the number of learners studying agriculture and horticulture has dropped from 67,362 i...

Horticulture’s Report Card

27 Jun 2019 Horticulture’s Report Card image

This week the Hawkes Bay hosts the National Horticulture Fieldays putting horticulture on display.  It is therefore timely to take a snap shot of where horticultural is at and...

Align Polices and Regulation to achieve Climate Change

20 Jun 2019 Align Polices and Regulation to achieve Climate Change image

Climate change mitigation, new environmental regimes and more restrictive access to water will, in the next few years, have a major impact on the primary sector in New Zealand...

Feeding New Zealand First

17 Jun 2019 Feeding New Zealand First image

Mystery Creek Fieldays are over for another year and as with every year there’s lots to buy and there’s lots to listen to.  This year in addition to the release of the annual ...

Sustainability

10 Jun 2019

Last week the Ballance Farm Environment Sustainability national awards ceremony were held in Hamilton and amongst the regional finalists competing for the national title there...

Supporting great careers in horticulture

23 May 2019

  Getting the horticulture careers message out to people at school, looking for the opportunity for an exciting career, is a big challenge.  Over the years, we've learned a fe...

Innovating for the future

17 May 2019

There are many challenges facing primary production, and the only way that these challenges are going to be conquered is by researching new technologies, and new ways of grow...

Business as usual won't achieve Zero Carbon

09 May 2019

The Zero Carbon Bill was introduced into Parliament on Wednesday, May 8, and as the Prime Minister has said, it provides certainty to business (particularly the primary secto...

How much capital is enough?

03 May 2019

The Reserve Bank is currently consulting on a proposal to get New Zealand banks to hold more funds. This would reduce the risk of banks failing so that, in the event of a ‘ru...

Putting the tomorrow in tomorrow’s schools

29 Apr 2019

Following extensive consultation in 2018, a government appointed taskforce put together a comprehensive report called ‘Our Schooling Futures: Stronger Together’. This report ...

A conference like no other – our food future

15 Apr 2019

Horticulture’s growth is underpinned by innovation and grower know-how. This isn’t limited to growing techniques, but also a rapidly increasing use of technology. Want to lea...

The future of apple picking

12 Apr 2019

  New Zealand’s growers are now, and always have been, great innovators.  The main impediments to adoption of technology are cost, access, and expertise. However, whether it’s...

Growing what consumers want

05 Apr 2019

The days of the standard New Zealand evening meal being meat and three vegetables are changing. Research from IBISWorld reports that sales of vegan food products “have soared...

Climate change: Science vs politics

27 Mar 2019

Worldwide, there are protests demanding action on climate change and in New Zealand, the report of our Interim Climate Change Committee is soon to be released. At the same ti...

Reform of Vocational Education

21 Mar 2019

Learner numbers are dropping. This has seen the polytechnic sector turn from a once breakeven operation into one now making a loss, with the only exception being where there ...

Workforce changes present opportunities for industry

14 Mar 2019

  The Government is delivering on temporary work visas and vocational training, with consultation running on some potentially wide-ranging reforms in these two areas. Both urb...

Horticulture’s ask from 2019 Budget

07 Mar 2019

The Government is preparing the 2019 Budget, to be delivered on 30 May. This will be New Zealand’s first well-being budget and very much a world first covering: (1) natural c...

Suffocation by taxation

28 Feb 2019

We are currently analysing the final report of the Tax Working Group (TWG), and offering our views on what has been recommended. It seems there may have been a significant op...

Tax and the impending death of small business

25 Feb 2019

The saying goes: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. The Tax Working Group report has been made public and it appears to be true: more ...

Move to high wage economy needs to be better thought through

15 Feb 2019

Successive governments have deployed policies to transform the New Zealand economy.  One transformational policy is to turn New Zealand into a high wage economy.  Those that...

Capital gains tax not right for New Zealand

08 Feb 2019

The report from the tax working group, including the merits or otherwise for a capital gains tax, has been made available to Government, and is due for public release later t...

Working together for healthy rivers and healthy food

01 Feb 2019

We can have both healthy rivers and healthy food.  All that is required is for us to work together as one country and face up to the fact that we are going to need to store w...

Food production versus the invisible hand

25 Jan 2019

  The “invisible hand” is the unobservable market force that helps the demand and supply of goods in a free market to reach equilibrium automatically. The phrase “invisible ha...

Plants need water too

17 Jan 2019

Horticulture New Zealand submits to councils from one end of New Zealand to the other to get water allocated for plants that grow healthy food. You would think that it is sel...

Australia competes for harvest workers

11 Jan 2019

  Australia and New Zealand are facing the same problem: we are both very short of workers for harvesting fruit and vegetables. This issue will not go away in the immediate or...

Horticulture will play a role in climate change mitigation

13 Dec 2018

Recently, a number of reports about climate change mitigations have been released, including one from Motu called Land-use Change as a Mitigation Option for Climate Change.  ...

The facts about nitrogen in horticulture

11 Dec 2018

Stuff recently gave space to an opinion piece from Glen Herud, a dairy farmer, which had a number of inaccurate references to the use of nitrogen in horticulture and horticul...

Trade risks to New Zealand

07 Dec 2018

  The growing tensions between the United States and China are casting an ominous shadow over world trade. The risks are now becoming the subject of frequent commentary in ma...

Employment law changes next year

29 Nov 2018

The Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill had its second reading in Parliament on Tuesday. Some key changes from its original form were identified in response to i...

What’s the future for rural New Zealand?

22 Nov 2018

My job takes me around the country, talking to people who are the backbone of New Zealand. They are worried and feel deserted by urban New Zealand. If you are a grower who fe...

Engaging the unemployed

15 Nov 2018

The economists call it ‘maximum sustainable employment’; that is apparently what we have reached in New Zealand, with a remarkably low 3.9% unemployment. This is below the Go...

No workers, no fruit and veges

09 Nov 2018

There have been three recent announcements of interest to horticulture: 1. The Prime Minister and the Chair of the Business Advisory Council announcing the four priority area...

Trade deal fantastic for horticulture

05 Nov 2018

Largely unnoticed by media last week was the announcement that the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will take effect from 30 December this year...

Water for all New Zealanders

02 Nov 2018

An important issue facing New Zealanders is water – both availability and quality. Across rural New Zealand there are thousands of schemes and initiatives focused on water. T...

Will increased compliance promote growth?

25 Oct 2018

The simple answer is, that depends on what the requirements are. First some facts. Over the past compliance for growers exponentially increased. A few examples include requi...

Horticulture on a roll

18 Oct 2018

This week, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) released its quarterly outlook figures for New Zealand’s primary sector. Horticultural growth for the coming year, includ...

What’s happening to the Aussie Dollar?

12 Oct 2018

  The Australian dollar has dropped to its lowest levels in two years, with a year-to-date loss of 9% against the US dollar. According to some commentators, the Australian dol...

Vegetable growing in Sri Lanka

05 Oct 2018

Seeing another country’s vegetable growing industry first hand is not only fascinating, but it gives a point for comparison with our industry in New Zealand.  I recently trav...

Asian markets still open

18 Sep 2018

Guest Blog – Richard Palmer Asia Fruit Logistica 2018 took place in Hong Kong in the first week in September (we’re glad to not be there this week as Typhoon Mangkhut strikes...

Climate change and rural confidence

07 Sep 2018

There has been a lot of talk in the media and in boardrooms about a drop in business confidence. This is also a hot topic in the rural sector, with some of the employment law...

Damning decision from district council

29 Aug 2018

Earlier this week, the Tasman District Council decided not to support the development of Waimea Community Dam. This dam was going to supply water for urban households, suppor...

Sustainability – the theme of the Young Grower final

27 Aug 2018

  Last week, the national finals of the Young Grower of the Year were held in Napier.  In addition to practical in-the-field events and business sessions, there were a leaders...

Time to act on food security

16 Aug 2018

It’s time to act on food security New Zealand.  We cannot take for granted that our fruit and vegetable growers can continue to feed New Zealand, as well as generate increasi...

A measured approach to new age crop protection

10 Aug 2018

  There are many bugs and diseases that attack plants, animals and humans. To manage and fight off these attacks a range of compounds are used, many of them with a chemical ba...

Balance needed between climate change mitigation and food production

03 Aug 2018

In a letter published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, entitled “Risk of increased food insecurity under stringent global climate change mitigation policy” t...

Does complexity produce quality?

27 Jul 2018

A constant concern of all businesses, whether urban or rural based, is that running their business is becoming increasingly harder as profit margins become tighter. Complicate...

Horticulture New Zealand’s top five

19 Jul 2018

Next week, Horticulture New Zealand has its Annual General Meeting (AGM), where we will focus on our top five activities including: Biosecurity - Since last year’s AGM we hav...

Horticulture Conference is a must-attend

12 Jul 2018 Horticulture Conference is a must-attend image

The Horticulture Conference will be held at the Air Force Museum in Christchurch from 23 to 25 July. The theme this year is ‘Our Food Story’, with the sessions tracing that st...

Join the campaign to Fix the Bill

09 Jul 2018

Two Bills before Parliament will radically change how employment law operates in New Zealand. Both Bills are designed to increase the influence of unions and to change how th...

The impact of rising wages

02 Jul 2018

New Zealand’s economy is in good shape and growing. In the past, when the economy is growing, workers have gone after wage increases. The flow-on effect of this is that busin...

Good law-making missing on Regional Fuel Tax

22 Jun 2018

The Government plans to implement, in conjunction with the Auckland Council, a fuel tax for Auckland on 1 July 2018. On behalf of our growers, HortNZ has submitted to the Par...

Employment relations the new frontier

13 Jun 2018

This Government has launched reviews of education and tax, plus it has created a new Climate Change Commission. It has also announced a shake-up of workplace laws. The educat...

Sustaining our environment – best products from the best country

06 Jun 2018

On World Environment Day, 5 June, Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor launched a primary sector action plan for water quality. This is ...

Know your food

01 Jun 2018

Consumer trend reports show that when consumers are asked to pay a premium price for their food, those consumers want to know why it’s worth it; namely, where and how that fo...

Criminalising cartel conduct comes with risk

28 May 2018

  Criminalising cartel conduct poses some risks to the way we do business in New Zealand. It may well have the unintended consequence of making us less competitive, both in Ne...

Unionisation Bill – Nine Reasons Why Not

21 May 2018

  The Government has introduced the Employment Relations Amendment Bill – in the process of making legislation – to bring back unionisation.  Here are nine reasons not to supp...

Biocontrol our best defence

14 May 2018

Winter, the risk season for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), is finishing in the Northern hemisphere countries where it lives. In winter, this bug hibernates in dark an...

Maintaining trade rules essential

10 May 2018

New Zealand relies on trade for its economic survival. Without trade New Zealand would be a very different and a much poorer country. Successive New Zealand Governments have ...

Do we really need another fuel tax?

04 May 2018

Reducing congestion on our main roads and making roads safer is something we all want. How we make that happen is the hard question. A simple solution would be less cars on t...

Technology is not a magic bullet

27 Apr 2018

New Zealand unemployment is currently at its lowest level since 2008. In some areas of the country there are very few people available for work, down to double digits, and thi...

Saving our land

20 Apr 2018

Yesterday, the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand released the Our Land 2018 report which provides pertinent data about the state of land in New Zealand....

Partnership key to address labour shortages

13 Apr 2018

All New Zealand industries are currently experiencing a shortage of workers. In some areas, particularly in the South Island, there are very few unemployed, and in some cases...

Water essential to feed New Zealand

06 Apr 2018

  Reality: plants need water to grow, and that water supply needs to be consistent and reliable. In the past two years, there have been extreme climatic events, alternating be...

The rise of the flexitarians

05 Apr 2018

There is a food revolution coming the way of farmers and growers, caused by consumers around the world changing their eating habits. Beef + Lamb NZ recently released an excel...

The balancing act of workplace relations

29 Mar 2018

There has been significant maturing on New Zealand’s labour law in recent years. The current legislation set about to achieve a greater degree of co-operation, trust, and fai...

Horticulture: growth predictions and constraints

23 Mar 2018

This week the Ministry for Primary Industries released its growth predictions. Modest growth is predicted for horticulture (including wine), with kiwifruit and apples predict...

Where are the workers?

16 Mar 2018

A question many industries in New Zealand are asking is “where are the workers?” While robotics and artificial intelligence are being touted to replace workers in many indust...

New features in the CPTPP

12 Mar 2018

Today’s trade deals are broadening their focus, from just addressing tariff reductions to including issues that are challenging the world today, such as protecting the enviro...

CPTPP a real win for New Zealand

09 Mar 2018

Once you strip away all the figures, data, and modelling, there remains one essential fact: free trade deals generate incredible wealth for those who are party to them. In ...

Vocational training needs to change with the times

02 Mar 2018

  For a number of years, vocational training in New Zealand has not worked well for our industry.  The prime reason for this is how this training is funded by the Government. ...

Stormy weather and food supply

26 Feb 2018

  Ex-Cyclone Gita was a very real reminder about how our food supply can be affected by the weather. Wellington’s main route north up the Kapiti coast was cut off for some tim...

Protecting New Zealand’s borders – isolation is not enough

19 Feb 2018

  New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world has, until recently, protected our country from many pests and diseases. By good luck and some good management we have ke...

Telling our food story

14 Feb 2018

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? In the past year, we have taken on the challenge of getting our food story out to urban New...

Linking compliance to consumer expectations

09 Feb 2018

The way to grow a primary sector business is to provide the consumers of our food with what they want. But in recent years, the focus has been forced away from consumers and ...

Let’s not waste precious soil and water

02 Feb 2018

  The most telling difference between soil and water is that water is a renewable resource, while the soil we have for growing food is not. What they have in common is that we...

Horticulture – the quiet achiever

26 Jan 2018

  Across New Zealand, growers are planting and planning new developments, and capitalising on the spectacular growth of the horticulture industry.  The end point to the growin...

Water storage to improve water standards

18 Jan 2018

  Environment Minister David Parker has announced that preliminary work has begun to create a new freshwater policy for New Zealand, building on the previous Government’s wor...

Seasonal labour a vital ingredient

11 Jan 2018

Research New Zealand recently conducted a survey reporting on the impacts of the RSE scheme, where it has directly enabled: - The area under cultivation to expand consistentl...

The long arm of competition law

09 Jan 2018

Yes, there is a branch of law called competition law. Simply put, its aim is to make sure consumers get the best price, by making sure companies compete with each other in th...