HortNZ president sets goals on improved communication, national image

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HortNZ president sets goals on improved communication, national image

Horticulture New Zealand announced the election of Julian Raine as its new president last week, with the fruit and berry grower bringing over 30 years of industry experience to the role.Julian Raine 2013

A week into his new position, Raine spoke with www.freshfruitportal.com about his vision for New Zealand's agricultural industries. He said his top priority would be improved communication throughout the sector.

"I think improving our communication with our fellow growers [is key]. We’ve got 5,500 growers and I think we can have better communication and have everyone working together better," Raine said.

"I think its hands on. I see myself getting alongside growers and grower groups and disseminating knowledge and information."

Improved communication plans include tighter communication with New Zealand's government to meet national goals.

"What we have to do is add value to the growers’ businesses. We have a national strategy of having NZ$10 billion (US$7.8 billion) worth of horticultural products by 2020. Horticultural New Zealand will help growers in achieving that by ensuring we keep our buyer security pretty tight so we don’t get any more intrusions," he said.

"We have good people trained to help with the process. We also have our state laws around the environment. We want to make those user-friendly for growers as well."

To avoid pest and disease intrustions, Raine cited the utility of solid regulations for imports and exports.

"We work with the New Zealand government on biosecurity methods. We’re always looking over the shoulder of the New Zealand government. We’re a trade country and we have a lot of international tourists. So we’ve got to have sensible importation laws and screening of passengers arriving to New Zealand," he said.

Regarding the hotly contested Resource Management Act, Raine said simiplicity will be vital for improvements.

"It is very complex. We need to work with the government to make it less complex because it’s not particularly user friendly and it’s actually getting worse. We need to work with the government to reverse that trend so it doesn’t get worse or more costly," he said.

Overall, Raine said marketing the New Zealand image will be an important focus area.

"We need to work better together in terms of the New Zealand brand and what New Zealand stands for. I think we can incorporate that more in our products," he said.

"It’s not only a fantastic country with very good growers. We also produce wonderful systems around food safety."



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