Wednesday, 14 July 2021 09:55

Govt out of touch with hort

Written by  Peter Burke
Nadine Tunley is concerned about the Government's lack of understanding about growing and providing food for domestic consumption and export. Nadine Tunley is concerned about the Government's lack of understanding about growing and providing food for domestic consumption and export.

Horticulture NZ's new chief executive says she's floored by the number of wellbeing issues the sector is currently facing.

In a letter to members of the industry-good organisation, Nadine Tunley says horticulturalists work incredibly hard, often under very trying conditions.

She says, at the moment, there are just too many things being asked of growers.

"My plea is that we take a breath, and industry and the Government work together on how we keep all of our businesses contributing to New Zealand's social and economic recovery," Tunley says.

"My impression is that the Government does not understand the depth of our industry's problems."

She says that mental health is of deep concern to New Zealanders at the moment and the horticulture industry is no exception.

"However, my concern is the Government's lack of any real understanding about what is involved in growing and providing food for domestic consumption and export, in a post-Covid world," Tunley adds.

"I have been hearing for months that horticulture will be NZ's saviour in terms of economic recovery, as well as in terms of significantly assisting with climate change mitigation for our protein-based colleagues. At a very basic level, horticulture and its success are determined by a well-balanced supply and demand requirement, solid central and local government policies, significant levels of capital investment, and good supply chain facilities, from field to fork."

However, Tunley adds that horticulture is a far more labour-intensive product to produce than NZ's other protein producing counterparts. She says technology and automation are still very limited in most areas of horticulture, but notes that if it were a more advanced and genuine solution, growers would be using it without question.

"The irony is that we are being asked to provide employment for New Zealanders. The areas of our industry where this is most possible are the areas we will automate first because current policy is forcing us to do this," Tunley says. "Once those jobs are automated, they will never come back."

More like this

'Supermarkets are not villains'

Supermarkets shouldn't be seen as villians when it comes to competition and returns in the retail sector, says former Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman.

Magical thinking

While we're on the topic of a higher minimum wage, Horticulture NZ chief Mike Chapman is a clear thinker on this, cutting through the bulldust coming out of Wellington.


$8 still on the cards

Farmgate milk price forecasts continue to fluctuate despite a rise in the last Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction.

Machinery & Products

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.

A big tractor needed

German cultivation and seeding manufacturer Amazone has launched a new semimounted plough range, suitable for tractors in the 400hp class.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Murky waters

OPINION: Your canine crusader knows there is a great deal of unease - especially in rural NZ - about the…


OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter