Government’s term draws to a close

14 June 2023

Government ministries and departments are busy finalising all the changes that they can, ahead of Parliament rising on 31 August and the General Election moving into full swing.

Last week, you may have seen media reports outlining that the Freshwater Farm Plan regulations have been gazetted. In his media release, Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said, ‘Freshwater farm plans will be phased in region by region over the coming years to ensure they are practical, starting in parts of the Waikato and Southland on 1 August. This step provides farmers certainty and they will have 18 months to prepare their first plan after the regulations take effect in their region’. 

HortNZ is reviewing the regulations and will be providing growers with ongoing advice and support, through the Growing Change initiative.

Growing Change is a three-year partnership between HortNZ and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) to build capacity and capability within the horticulture sector to deliver Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) freshwater farm plans. The project has received funding from the Essential Freshwater Fund, which is administered by MfE. 

Growing Change will focus on ten catchment projects in key growing regions to support growers to develop freshwater farm plans, using the Environment Management System add-on to GAP. The projects will support growers through technical workshops in nutrient, soil and water management; specialist advisor support; and peer-to-peer learning.

If you would like more information about Growing Change, please email

Cyclone response

HortNZ is still involved in advocating for growers affected by adverse weather events, in particular Cyclone Gabrielle. The Government has decided that the response will be led from within each region, which is why various recovery groups have been set up in the most affected regions. It is through these groups that growers will be able to access any further financial support, including recovering silt and debris removal costs.

We are providing the different recovery groups with advice and data, and these groups know we are here to help in any way that we can.

Various grower meetings are being organised in the regions, so growers can have their questions answered and also, can get together and discuss what’s happening and share how they’re going. Please keep an eye on the HortNZ newsletter for information about these events.