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Commodity Levy to be considered by growers

Media Release
2 August 2006


Commodity Levy Proposal to be considered by growers

Horticulture New Zealand, the representative body of New Zealand’s horticulture industry, will be consulting its 7,000 growers over the coming months to establish its own commodity levy.

The commodity levy will replace the existing levies put in place by the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation and the New Zealand Vegetable and Potato Growers’ Federation (Vegfed). Both organisations combined forces in 2005 to become Horticulture New Zealand, and their current levy arrangements with growers will expire in 2007.

The proposed commodity levy would see a move towards a level playing field, with all growers contributing at the same rate on a percentage of sales basis. This means the levy will become 0.15% of sales value, which equates to $15 per $10,000.

While vegetable growers currently pay this rate, fruit growers have been paying a levy based on 0.07% of sales. However Horticulture New Zealand has reached an agreement with the Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust to top up the fruit growers levies on a reducing basis over a six year period.

This means fruitgrowers will pay $10 per $10,000 of sales in 2007, with this amount increasing by a dollar per $10,000 of sales each year until 2013, while the Charitable Trust will make up the difference.

“This move ensures all growers will be paying levy rates on a fair and equitable basis,” says Horticulture New Zealand President Andrew Fenton.

“It will also secure funds for Horticulture New Zealand so it can focus on providing industry leadership on a range of issues, including protecting the right to grow and farm, and ensuring a positive environment for New Zealand growers.”

Andrew cited biosecurity, trade policy, environmental and resource management issues, seasonal labour, compliance costs, food safety and training as all critical to the success of a robust and sustainable horticulture industry.

“These are all very big issues for the industry and if we deal with them effectively then the value to Horticulture will far exceed the cost of the levy. This levy will provide Horticulture New Zealand with the resources to be able to address these issues on behalf of our growers and advocate on national industry-wide concerns.”

Horticulture New Zealand will be seeking the support of growers during a referendum which will be held in November 2006.

ENDS

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