NZ ag groups praise new border levy -

NZ ag groups praise new border levy

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NZ ag groups praise new border levy

Horticulture New Zealand and Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) have both given their support to the government's decision to implement a border clearance levy to help pay for increased biosecurity checks. kiwi_1211550 vine small

The levy's finalization was announced earlier this week, and will apply to passengers entering the country from Jan. 1, 2016.

"The horticulture industry commends the Government for taking this courageous step to introduce the levy, and set fees to provide sustainable funding for border services," HortNZ president Julian Raine said.

"Passengers need to take some of the responsibility for protecting our primary industries, home gardens and our native species."

He added that every passenger entering the country presented a risk, and systems must therefore be put in place to process and check that risk.

"HortNZ will continue to work constructively with air and cruise lines, as well as the Ministry for Primary Industries, to help improve both passenger compliance and consequently passenger experience," Raine said.

"Given our industry's biosecurity expertise we can bring some value to the discussion about border compliance."

"However, protecting our agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, and New Zealand’s unique natural flora and fauna - which forms a key part of the tourism experience - must be our first consideration."

Meanwhile, KVH chief executive Barry O'Neil said the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) had carried out a thorough consultation process with which the kiwifruit industry has been actively engaged.

"KVH has always supported the levy as it will provide sustainable funding into the future and address New Zealand’s increasing biosecurity risks as more and more passengers enter New Zealand," he said.

"As a GIA [Government Industry Agreement] partner we provided input during the consultation period to ensure the best possible outcome was achieved for the kiwifruit industry and New Zealand.

"We believe the Government has landed in an appropriate and pragmatic place as a result of the consultation."

KVH also said the kiwifruit industry was no stranger to unwanted pests and diseases, and so was supportive of any initiatives that increase protection at the border.

"As passenger numbers coming into New Zealand rise, so too does the risk of unwanted pests and diseases," O'Neil said.

"Therefore it makes sense to have a funding mechanism that can keep pace with the changing risk profile; and those that create risks at the border will also fund the activities to mitigate them."

Passenger volumes are forecast to increase to 13.3 million by 2018/19. This growth is expected to continue at around 3.5–4% per year.


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