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HortNZ Welcomes Horizons’ Support For Levin Vegetable Growing

Horticulture New Zealand is welcoming Horizons Regional Council’s decision to adopt recommendations on Plan Change 2 that affect vegetable growing.

‘‘The new requirements are tough but growers are up for the challenge,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.

‘This plan provides a way forward in the short term. However, to provide for long-term food security, a further plan is required to map out how resource management decisions can provide for both environmental improvements and long-term food supply.’

Levin supplies around 20 percent of New Zealand’s fresh vegetables.

‘In its decision, Horizons is providing existing vegetable growers with a way to stay in production and feed New Zealanders, while continuing to reduce environmental impact,’ says Mike.

‘The new requirements will require further change, however, growers in the area have already made a good start. Levin vegetable growers - like vegetable and fruit growers throughout New Zealand - really respect their land and the natural environment.

‘Over the past decade, many have invested significant amounts of money and time in reducing their environmental impact, through modern cultivation techniques, less use of fertiliser and water, and sediment traps.

‘The soils around Levin, mild climate and good rainfall make the Horowhenua region - like Pukekohe - ideal for growing fresh vegetables for New Zealanders’ tables.’

Mike says HortNZ is encouraged by the recognition of the importance of domestic food supply in Horizons’ decision.

‘Climate change, freshwater and the environment are really hot topics at the moment. However, what policy makers tend to forget is that people need to eat too, which is something that the Paris Accord did not forget.

‘The accord clearly states that producing food while adapting to climate change is vital. In other words, "no food, no people". As a country, New Zealand needs to grow fresh vegetables to feed itself. The alternative would be to rely on imports, which would just be plain silly, particularly in today’s Covid world where supply chains are severely disrupted.

‘Enabling growers to do what they do best - grow food while using science and new techniques to reduce environmental impact, which is win-win. A win for the environment and a win for New Zealand, in terms of fresh, locally-grown vegetables and support for a vital horticultural industry.’

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