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Kiwifruit growers show strong support to continue levy

MEDIA RELEASE
22 March 2017

Kiwifruit growers show strong support to continue levy

85% of growers participating in the referendum vote to continue levy
Higher response rate and support for NZKGI than last levy referendum

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) have been given a strong mandate by kiwifruit growers to work on their behalf for the next six-year kiwifruit levy cycle.

The Declaration of Result was provided by the independent Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, of Electionz.com. Of those who voted, 85% of growers supported the proposed levy and 88% of volume was in support. Votes were cast by 49% of growers eligible to vote in the referendum representing 63% of total production.

These results compare to the levy referendum in 2011 of which 87% of voters supported the proposed levy and the tray equivalent basis equated to 85% support. The total production of growers who voted accounted for 53% of eligible voter’s total production of the foregone season. Votes were cast by 42% of growers eligible to vote in the referendum.

“The positive result is a great endorsement for our work over the last six years. It is especially pleasing to improve on our voter turnout given the last referendum took place when many growers were very engaged in the kiwifruit industry due to the outbreak of Psa”, says NZKGI Chairperson, Doug Brown. “The kiwifruit industry is experiencing a real growth phase and has an exciting future. NZKGI will be there to make sure that growers interests remain the top priority”.

NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson says, “Naturally we are very delighted with the positive response from growers and I am privileged to lead an organisation that is going from strength to strength in its advocacy. Nevertheless, there will be challenges for the sector and I encourage all growers to engage with their representatives to make sure that NZKGI is focusing on issues important to them”.

Kiwifruit growers first voted to establish a kiwifruit commodity levy to fund the operation of NZKGI in 2011. Since that time, it has achieved a series of significant outcomes for growers such as the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project which includes ensuring that Zespri achieves long-term market, strategic and financial performance for the industry. The levy will be used to continue to fund the operations of NZKGI and in addition, there will be significant new activity in the areas of communications and performance monitoring. The levy is set at 1c/tray ($0.0028/kg) and can only be increased by vote at a NZKGI AGM or Special General Meeting.

NZKGI has informed the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy of the result and will be applying to the Minister's office for a new levy order that would run through to 2024.

ENDS

Percent of eligible growers who voted
2011 42%
2017 49%
Voters who voted YES
2011 87%
2017 85%
Percent of eligible production of growers who voted
2011 53%
2017 63%
Percentage of production from growers voting YES
2011 85%
2017 88%


About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) works to advocate, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. We represent kiwifruit growers, giving them their own voice in industry and government decision making.

Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand’s largest fresh horticultural export, with sales in 2016/17 expected to be around NZ$2 billion. This represents the value of almost half of all New Zealand’s horticulture exports. In 2016/17 over 2,500 growers sold over 130 million trays of kiwifruit to over 50 markets. The industry is experiencing strong growth which is expected to continue over the coming years.

Our headquarters in the Bay of Plenty, the geographic heart of the kiwifruit industry, is the central hub for the NZKGI Executive Committee, Forum members and staff.

More information about our portfolios of Industry Stability, Performance, Communications, Labour & Education, External Relations and Organisational Management can be found on our website: www.nzkgi.org.nz

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