NZ growers overwhelmingly back new industry levy

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NZ growers overwhelmingly back new industry levy

New Zealand's fruit and vegetable producers have voted 85% in favor of Horticulture NZ's levy for the next six years, enabling the body to lobby on a range of issues from biosecurity challenges to resource management.

The referendum asked for approval for a grower levy of 15 cents for every NZD$100 (US$83) per sales to raise about NZ$2.5 million (US$2.1 million) a year for the organization to work on industry-wide issues.

Horticulture NZ president Andrew Fenton, said the result showed growers understood the value of the work done on their behalf and the importance of having a "unified" voice.

"There are some critical times ahead, not least of which is the kiwifruit industry dealing with Psa-V.

"We are hugely concerned about resource management decisions being made in New Zealand, for example use of land and use of water are becoming absolutely critical core issues."

Although the country has an abundance of water, Fenton said this needed to be managed and used "appropriately".

"This is where the tension comes in between an environmentally well-managed country and a productive primary sector."

The levy referundum was conducted alongside four referendums for the vegetable industry product groups: Vegetables New Zealand, Potatoes New Zealand Inc, TomatoesNZ and Process Vegetables New Zealand.

Horticulture NZ said all of these groups achieved "strong positive" referendum support.

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