Benefits of a Commodity Levy
NZKGI has been funded through a Commodity Levy since 2012 and has continued to achieve a series of significant outcomes for kiwifruit Growers since its renewal in 2017. The key outcomes are described below.
Seasonal Labour Supply
NZKGI is a forerunner of New Zealand’s primary industries in the attraction of seasonal labour. In response to the seasonal labour shortage experienced in 2018, NZKGI developed a Labour Attraction Strategy for the 2019 harvest, the success of which has led to it continuing every year since. The strategy focuses on initiatives to provide information on, and attract, New Zealanders and Working Holiday Visa holders to the industry, as well as correcting misconceptions. In addition to attracting New Zealanders and backpackers to pick and pack the crop, NZKGI leads the industry and works with Government to secure RSE workers.
The recent pandemic required an industry response to enable continued operations. NZKGI led the industry to advocate for a classification as an Essential Business and worked closely with Government agencies to ensure appropriate safety protocols were created and implemented to protect workers. NZKGI led industry communication to ensure that employers and employees could continue to work safely.
SPE Marketing Structure
The largest investors and risk-takers in the industry are Growers. Although Zespri, suppliers, and other service providers benefit from the unified industry structure, the Single Point of Entry (SPE) is a Grower tool for maximising value. Growers still recognise the SPE as a crucial value creator with 98 percent indicating support for it in the 2015 KISP referendum. NZKGI has continued to advocate at a Government level and indirectly on the international trade stage for the retention of the model.
Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have stated Government support for the industry’s marketing structure – for as long as Growers support the model. It’s fair to say that they regularly require reassurance regarding Grower support for the model as international competitors can be very critical.
The SPE is intended to maximise the Grower community wealth and provide equal opportunity for all Growers, even though individual Grower outcomes will differ as in any industry. NZKGI provides a counterbalance to the privileged position that Growers have granted to the marketer by providing Grower representation on industry bodies such as The Industry Advisory Council (IAC), the Industry Supply Group (ISG), and subcommittees dealing with all supply issues.
While many industry participants such as supply entities and suppliers can legitimately represent groups of Growers, none of these groups represent all Growers. The SPE model requires a strong voice to represent all Growers – NZKGI provides this.
NZKGI has a critical role to monitor Zespri and industry performance through end-to-end supply solutions to ensure industry practices are maintained in the best interests of all kiwifruit Growers and that they are always top of mind in the industry decision-making. Over the current levy period, NZKGI has continuously delivered a range of audits and practical outcomes with Growers best interests at the fore which include a Zespri Key Performance Indicator dashboard for Growers, auditing of the Grower pool (promotional spend), monitoring of supply chain end-to-end processes and auditing of the cost of quality. NZKGI Forum members and staff also play an important role in industry governance groups, including IAC and ISG, advocating for Growers by ensuring their voice is heard amongst Zespri, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
NZKGI excels in its communication with Growers, particularly through its Weekly Update newsletter which continues to lead the horticulture industry as the industry’s most-read publication for Growers reaching over 3,500 readers each week. It ensures Growers are kept up to date on current industry topics, with an email to their inbox every Friday afternoon.
Other communications connecting and keeping Growers up-to-date on matters of importance to their business include placements in industry publications, Grower events, and meetings. The portfolio has also been successful in managing crisis communications for adverse industry events, supporting industry reputation through the placement of good news stories in general media as well as being the spokesperson for New Zealand’s kiwifruit Growers.
Grower Advocacy in Regulations
Regulatory change is putting increasing pressure on the kiwifruit industry, resulting in NZKGI increasing its presence in this area. Local and central Government policy consultations continue to be released at a rapid pace and NZKGI advocates on policy that implicates Growers. Since 2019, NZKGI has made over 50 submissions.
In 2019, NZKGI took the lead on creating an industry-wide Water Strategy which is a collaboration between Growers, Zespri, Māori Kiwifruit Growers Inc., and Horticulture NZ. The aim of the strategy is to collectively protect and enhance water resources for our people, our environment, and our communities while enabling the kiwifruit industry growth. Regional Grower advocacy has also seen NZKGI become more involved in issues such as rural rate increases in areas including Opotiki and Gisborne with NZKGI taking legal proceedings against Gisborne District Council’s decision to include the licence in rating valuations for gold kiwifruit orchards. In a separate court case, NZKGI was successful in removing barriers to seasonal accommodation in legal proceedings against the Western Bay of Plenty District Council in the District Court in Tauranga.
NZKGI is also advocating for kiwifruit Growers in the Environmental Protection Authority’s reassessment for hydrogen cyanamide. NZKGI is a key contributor in providing information to the EPA, supporting the continued use of the product with appropriate controls in place to manage risks to people and the environment.
Within the Industry NZKGI provides education to industry entrants, for example, through:
- NZKGI’s Kiwifruit Book which has been updated and republished annually since 2015 and provides Horticulture and Agribusiness teachers with a resource that covers the ins and outs of the kiwifruit industry.
- The Young Fruit Grower Competition showcases the future leaders of the industry and the varied career opportunities within the horticulture industry.
- The operation of Future Leaders (established in 2014) to develop the potential of those in the kiwifruit industry interested in upskilling by engaging them through regular learning, networking, and social activities.
- Career Support through the HortNZ Career Progression Managers Network.
- Taster courses (with funding support from MPI) for newcomers to be informed about the industry.
NZKGI is the Growers’ voice to local and national Government as well as on the international stage as required. Some examples of NZKGI representation are:
- Representing the kiwifruit industry as a Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) product group, so that kiwifruit industry views are heard when HortNZ represents the horticulture sector on national issues.
- Regular engagement with Government ministers, members of parliament, and Government officials on key issues such as water and air quality, urban encroachment, biosecurity, border control, and right to farm issues.
- Representing the New Zealand industry at the International Kiwifruit Organisation to maintain productive relationships with other growing nations.
- Working with the New Zealand Government to brief and ensure that Grower interests are protected on the international stages such as WTO and TPPA negotiations.