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Keeping it together

2 November 2021

Jamie McIntyre 'keeping it together' at the 2021 Young Grower final.

Last week, the Government announced a relaxation of requirements around the entry of Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from the Pacific.  This announcement is an endorsement of how RSE employers have managed the first set of quarantine free flights, which started in early October.  

Yesterday, the Government announced that it would lessen restrictions in the Waikato area at the same time that it warned that daily Covid case numbers would rise.  The country is well and truly on a management path now as opposed to an eradication one.  I think that this change was always inevitable, however, there is still a very real need for more clarity around how businesses will run under a management of Covid regime. 

In today’s newsletter, we provide guidance around vaccination in the workplace.  However, the main conclusion is that the Government needs to step in and provide clear direction via legislation rather than leave it to employers to navigate, with the ongoing concerns of expensive litigious outcomes. Click here to read more.

In terms of climate change, the Government has announced new, more ambitious targets by 2050 to coincide with the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow. 

In our conversations, we constantly remind Government officials about how horticulture can help the country meet its climate change targets, while continuing to feed New Zealand and the world tasty, healthy fruit and vegetables. 

Before the end of the year, the Government will start consultation on He Wake Eka Noa, as I mentioned last week.  While I do not want to speculate about what might be in that consultation package, I do want to assure you that horticulture has had a good hearing. 

In the past week, the Government also started its multi-year review of New Zealand’s research system - Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways.

For several years, HortNZ has maintained that the science and research system has not served our industry well.  That for our industry to reach its potential, including to contribute to climate change goals, the system needs to be better coordinated with more emphasis on implementing and commercialising research, and far faster. 

HortNZ will work with product groups to coordinate our industry’s response.  Please stay tuned for more detail over the coming months.