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Lyndale Blog - August 2020

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GIA: Do We Need it?

Government Industry Agreement's (GIA) goal is to achieve better biosecurity outcomes in New Zealand. It brings together Government and Primary producers to better manage pests and diseases that could damage New Zealand's biosecurity system, Primary Industries, economy or the environment.

Basically, it is an opportunity to pull the levers of government to gain advantage for your sector, or to ensure that your sector is not disadvantaged by some other sector making a decision that is then imposed on you.

If you followed the above, then you are ready for the tricky bit. We growers of ornamental plants are by definition part of the larger horticultural scene in NZ. I would argue that we hold a particularly important place as we are the source of the plants that go on to produce the produce that is derived by the other players in the sector such as Forestry, Kiwifruit, Wine industry, Avocados, etc.
BUT we are not seen quite like that by these same sectors. We are seen as a risk to their wellbeing and biosecurity.

Why you might ask? Pretty well because of everything we do.

  1. We import plants from overseas, creating a risk that would not be there if we did not carry out this activity.
  2. We are continually moving plants around the country which in their view creates pathways for possible contamination to spread.
  3. We are not very organized. Membership of our representative body (NZPPI) is voluntary, (unlike all the majority of the other sectors) with some significantly large production sites that to date have refused to join; making it easy for other interest groups to create dissention and division. A significant by-product of this lack of unity is that we have no source of income other than membership fees. Members are constantly providing services which freeloading non-members get to benefit from.

The COVID-19 lockdown was a case in point. NZPPI successfully negotiated with Government to allow industry the ability to at least care for their investment in live plants. The whole industry was relieved, but not everyone paid for the work that was required to get the argument to the government.
 

 



Manipulation in action


Under the toe of big brother

Asserting Control

In a remarkably short space of time our options for plant importation into NZ are being narrowed. Forget the long overdue update to the Biosecurity Index (while the excellent work that Murray Dawson has done to add to the biosecurity index is important, it will not mean that you can import anything different from the shrinking range that you can import as we speak. Importations will still require an up to date Import Health Standard. Guess what? Splat! You just ran into a brick wall).

Why is this? I believe that our "friends" in Forestry for example are very good at pointing the Government (remember those levers of power) at "issues" overseas which MIGHT present a risk to their forests, way before anything has developed other than a "might".

It is easy for our "Friends" in horticulture to do this because we are not a signatory to GIA and have no mandate to be involved in these conversations. We just get to wear the outcome.

You might say that there could be legitimate concerns and we the growers of ornamental plants do not want to be responsible for destroying aspects of the Forestry sector.

This is a legitimate thought; however, the reality is that without our input, the argument that we have a perfectly good system of regulated biosecurity PEQ (Post Entry Quarantine) which could be directed to test for anything specifically of concern before release. This argument does not get made.

This situation is real and happening rapidly around us. The very impressive listing of existing Import Health Standards means nothing. On applying for a permit to import you will be told that the standard is either out of date, requires reassessment, or an emerging risk means that a permit to import cannot be issued. Try it and see!!

 


Long overdue update


Things can escalate quickly
without noticing

Strangled supply

The supply of new plants into the NZ market is being effectively stifled.

I am of the opinion we need to do several things urgently: join GIA, strongly encourage growers to join NZPPI and wake up to the fact that we are getting trampled on by the rest of commercial horticulture.

Do we need to be part of GIA? Yes we do.

Kind regards
The Lyndale Team

 

Lyndale Nurseries

Post PO Box 81 022, Whenuapai, Auckland
Street 82 Trig Rd, Whenuapai, Auckland
Web www.lyndale.co.nz
Email enquiries@lyndale.co.nz
Phone 09 416 8482
Fax 09 416 9268
   
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