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HortNZ Referendum Returns Significant Support

Media Release
13 December 2006

Horticulture New Zealand Commodity Levy Referendum Returns Significant Support

The Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) Commodity Levy Referendum has returned strong support with 78% of votes by number and 73% by value in favour. All six separate voting pools have come through with positive support.

“We are delighted with the clear level of support from our fruit and vegetable grower members,” says Horticulture New Zealand President, Andrew Fenton. “Doing business is becoming harder for growers as the issues they face are getting larger in number and complexity. This positive outcome to the referendum will help ensure the industry has a strong representative voice through HortNZ and we can successfully tackle these issues and continue achieving results on behalf of growers.”

Mr Fenton cited biosecurity, trade policy, environment and resource management advocacy issues, labour supply, compliance costs, food safety and education, training and careers promotion as all critical to the success of a robust and sustainable horticulture industry.

“The horticulture industry has achieved a tremendous amount over the past 25 years with exports growing from $200 million in 1980 to $2.3 billion today. The challenge for HortNZ is to ensure that the industry can continue that growth in value and thereby increase the contribution that we make to the economy, employment, regional development and the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. We shall look forward to working with the support of growers to meet this challenge,” he said.

The level of support is above the 50% of votes both by number and value required by the Commodity Levies Act. The next step in the process is for HortNZ to submit an application to the Minister asking him to put the new levy in place. We hope that the new levy will be in place by July 2007 when it will replace the existing New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation and the New Zealand Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation levies.


Ends

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