Monday, 04 December 2023 15:25

From the CEO: Changing times for advocacy

Written by  Philip Gregan
New Zealand Winegrower Chief Executive Philip Gregan. New Zealand Winegrower Chief Executive Philip Gregan.

OPINION: The election is done and dusted, and as I am writing this everyone is waiting for the new government to be formed.

All we know at this stage is that it will be a combination of the National, ACT and New Zealand First parties, with ministerial responsibilities to be shared between them.

The change of government will bring new plans and agendas. We know there will be reversals of some of the previous government's policies, while there will be many initiatives from the new government as well.

According to all reports, Parliament will meet before Christmas, while National Finance Spokesperson Nicola Willis has indicated there will be a minibudget during that period. It is expected that parliament will get on with the business of enacting the new government's legislative agenda early in the New Year.

Our industry is subject to, and influenced by, a wide range of legislation and regulation. Some of it is specific to the wine industry, such as the Wine Act and various trade issues. Some of it is specific to the primary sector, such as the Freshwater Farm Plan requirements and the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, while some of it is targeted at products containing alcohol, such as excise requirements and the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act. Then there is more general legislation and regulation that impacts the sector, with the likes of minimum wage legislation, and the new Fair Pay rules.

This all means that with a new government about to be formed, it will be a very busy period for New Zealand Winegrowers and our advocacy team as we seek to meet the new MPs and Ministers and get our views across to them. We are currently preparing our Briefing to Incoming Ministers (BIM), as will be every industry organisation that engages with government. We coordinate with other industry organisations to ensure our BIMs align where we have shared policy interests, such as an RSE.

So what will we be saying in our BIM? We will paint a picture of an industry that is making a major economic and social contribution to New Zealand and our winegrowing regions. An industry that is quality led, that is socially responsible, that is committed to sustainability, and that has a bright future.

We have some specific requests of course. We want to work with the government to improve market access and to grow export value even further. We want to see increased support for industry research efforts, including those of Bragato Research Institute.

We also want to see changes to the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act to support the domestic market. Specifically, we are requesting that the new Cellar Door Tasting Amendment Bill is passed and that the recently passed Community Participation legislation is amended so as not to create barriers to the successful operation of cellar doors.

We also want an ongoing commitment to sustainability. In this case our requests relate to funding for the proposed, and critically important, new Post Entry Quarantine facility, which will help assure out biosecurity border, and support for Freshwater Farm Plan requirements to be integrated with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand in order to ease the compliance burden on growers.

We won't be including in the BIM all the matters in which we have an interest. The broader range of matters will be discussed in meetings we will be having with new Ministers and MPs, and officials from all those government departments and agencies we engage with - Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Customs, Justice, Health and a number of others as well. Some of those meetings will be just NZW by itself. In other cases meetings will be coordinated with like-minded groups across the horticulture and primary sectors, or spirits and beer producers, other exporters, or those involved in tourism, workforce planning or the wider business community.

Formation of the new government represents a singular opportunity for NZW to engage on all those important legislative and regulatory opportunities and issues that affect growers and wineries. We are well prepared to put our best foot forwards on behalf of winegrowers once the new government is formed.

Very best wishes for an enjoyable and safe festive season!

More like this

New minister's hort focus

The new Minister of Horticulture, Nicola Grigg, says the reason that she came into Parliament was because of her interest in and commitment to agriculture.

Welcome to 2024!

OPINION: The New Year is now well underway and appears to have started promisingly on the weather front, with lots of warm, dry days.

Back to the backbench

Former Labour agriculture and trade minister Damien O'Connor hopes the new coalition Governent will continue the direction of travel initiated by his government in terms of ensuring the high reputation of our primary exports.

New Government has a lot to do

Former agriculture minister and speaker of Parliament Sir David Carter says the new National-led coalition faces significantly more important issues to deal with than previous governments.

» Latest Print Issues Online


Editorial: Plenty of tears

Editorial: Plenty of tears

OPINION: Rachael Cook is the smiling grape grower on this month’s cover, tending vines on the miniscule, beautiful and dream-driven vineyard…

Popular Reads

Ten years of Méthode Marlborough

New Zealand wine enthusiasts have a deepening understanding and growing appreciation of sparkling wine, says Mel Skinner, Chair of Méthode Marlborough…

Sustainability Success

Taking two sustainability awards at two events on a single evening felt like "true recognition" of the work Lawson's Dry…