A New Zealand research project in the United States has provided rich information for companies wanting to know more about that key market.
What am I being asked to vote on?
There are two votes being held simultaneously – one on the grape levy and another on the wine levy. Some New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) members will be eligible to vote for one levy, and others will be eligible to vote in both.
The key levy parameters will be the same or similar to those which members have been familiar with over the past five years.
This means that it is proposed that:
- Separate levies on grapes and wines are retained.
- The basis of the levies (volume for wine and value for grapes) remain unchanged.
- There is no change to the maximum levy rates allowed - these rates are above the current rates that are actually payable by members.
- The levy rates will be set annually by the NZW Board.
- A maximum payment for large levy payers is retained, as is the fact there is no minimum payment by any member.
The board has now decided to increase the maximum payable under the wine levy from 20 million litres to 24 million litres.
Why was the vote delayed?
The vote was originally scheduled for September. Following a consultation period on the proposal to increase the wine levy cap, the board received feedback from a number of members. The board concluded that additional time was required to respond to the issues raised in some of that feedback and to discuss the proposal with members who had questions.
How will the vote work?
Voting will open on Monday 18 October at 10am and will run for three weeks (closing on Friday 5 November at 12pm). The timeframe for approval of a new levy order means this is the latest time the vote can be held.
As with the referendum held in October 2015, this referendum will primarily be held electronically and administered by Electionz.com, an independent organisation. Your voting forms will come from Electionz.com rather than from NZW, so keep an eye out for these in your inbox.
To get a positive result in the grape levy referendum requires that, of those members who vote, 50 percent by number and 50 percent by value of levy payment must vote in favour of the levy. For wine, the requirement is 60 percent by number and 60 percent by volume of product sold voting in favour.
What happens after the vote?
If the industry votes to renew the levy orders, NZW will apply to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for a further levy order. This will take effect on 1 July 2022 for a further six years. Following industry feedback, the board has also agreed to review the structure of the levy orders more broadly, given the time that has passed since the last levy orders were set and the changes that have taken place in the industry since then. This process will take time to get right and will not be able to be completed before the levy vote as it will require comprehensive consultation with members. The board will consider the scope and timeframe for any review at its strategic planning meeting in November.
If the industry votes not to renew the levy orders, then steps will need to be taken to wind up NZW as the current industry organisation.
Questions and feedback