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External Relations / August 28, 2020

BOP: ACT: Bruce Carley

1. Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export with New Zealand supply of kiwifruit forecast to increase from 148 million trays (2019) to nearly 190 million trays in 2027. Do you think the government has a role in preparing for and supporting this growth, if not why?

Having worked (briefly) in the kiwifruit industry myself, I’m very aware of how important it is to the region and to New Zealand’s export market. I congratulate everyone involved in building it to its current level, and encourage their efforts to expand further. Government’s only role in this should be to reduce regulation that inhibits growth and makes it difficult for everyone to do what they alone know how best to do.

2. With labour shortages and the possible continuation of border closures next year how will you support the industry to ensure there is enough labour for harvest?

ACT says that any government should focus on ensuring the RSE scheme is run safely and without worker abuse, rather than on capping the numbers of workers for political purposes. Capping the numbers does not increase the number of jobs for New Zealanders. The cap on the RSE means growers won’t plant as much as they otherwise would, so they can’t sell as much.

3. Given that Māori kiwifruit growers provide jobs and economic stability to their communities, what initiatives or support do you think the government should provide for new kiwifruit development on Māori land?

Governments have no business being in business. Landowners should be free to use their property for whatever purpose they think gives them their best advantage and meets their community’s needs and priorities, provided their doing so doesn’t harm any other person or property. All participants in the kiwifruit industry should be free to invest and grow. Participants’ race is completely irrelevant – all New Zealanders should be treated equally.

4. What investment should the government make to increase the participation and capability of Māori in all areas of the kiwifruit industry?

See my answer to (3) above; race is irrelevant, and government needs to get out of the way of businesses’ success.

5. Access to water is critical. Would you support government led initiatives for on orchard water storage facilities?

ACT supports private property owners being able to collect and use abundant resources as they see fit. This does not require any sort of government role beyond removing any barriers to property owners being able to do so.

6. What drives you to run as a candidate in the general election? What do you hope to achieve?

I’m campaigning to raise the party vote for ACT, so that we can elect more of the very best people as MPs and continue to hold whomever is in government to account. People and businesses – including your own members, of course – are too hamstrung by unnecessary and unhelpful government regulation that discourages innovation and inhibits them realising their full potential. New Zealand needs more MPs who understand the realities of running successful businesses, and who will go into bat for our primary producers to address that over-regulation.