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At NZKGI, we aim to keep our grower community up-to-date with relevant industry news and key event information. See below for all of our latest industry news announcements and the details you need to know for our upcoming events.

Grower Guidance / August 18, 2021

COVID-19 FAQ’s

Crossing Alert level boundaries

If I am a border/essential worker am I able to get saliva testing?

Yes. The government has now introduced saliva testing for border workers

How do I register for saliva testing?

Visit https://covid19salivatesting.co.nz/ for information on how to register for saliva testing

 

Travel into or out of regions at different alert levels is restricted. Getting the official Business or Personal Travel Document will make the process of crossing a boundary much quicker and easier.

It’s important to note that exemptions for travel will only be allowed for specific reasons and within specific parameters. You must adhere to the conditions under which your exemption was granted.

Businesses must have systems and processes in place to minimise travel across the boundary or between regions within an alert level area. Everyone should work remotely if they can. Travel across an Alert Level Boundary will be very limited.

What to do:

  • You won’t be able to re-use the travel documents that you applied for during previous Alert Level changes.
  • Nominate a single person from your business to make the application for your staff
  • Apply or re-apply for the Business Travel Documents, here.
  • The horticulture industry will need to go through MBIE system under the Food and Beverage sector.
  • To apply you will need your NZ Business Number and a Real Me login
  • If your application is declined and you require support, contact the NZKGI office here.
  • When travelling, carry your ID, the letter outlining your essential worker status and the exemption. Place both of these on the windscreen of the vehicle so Police can have contactless access to your details
  • List all the essential works within your business who will need to travel
  • A separate document will be issued by e-mail once approved for each applicant – unique code given, i.e. QR code will be on document
  • When moving from Level 4 to Level 3 you take the business requirements for Level 4 with you

For a map of New Zealand’s current alert level, click here.

Essential business registration:

MPI is not registering businesses at this time.

Who can operate?

Businesses involved in the below can operate:

  • Primary industries (food and beverage production for both domestic consumption or export, plus the relevant support services) and veterinary and animal health and welfare services. It also includes businesses transporting freight.
  • Pest management services, key elements of pulp and paper plants and solid fuel.
  • Services involved in diagnostics for critical businesses or services like biosecurity, food safety, or public health.

What businesses are considered Essential for the kiwifruit industry?

  • On Orchard: Operations which must occur now are deemed essential. This includes winter pruning, grafting, spraying, fertilising.
  • Post-harvest: Supply chain operations that ensure fruit gets to market are deemed as Essential.
  • HOWEVER, within those activities, employers should do as much as they can (and more than last time) to keep the interaction of people down to near zero by following social distancing and hygiene protocols

Compliance:

The Governments’ classification of the kiwifruit industry as an essential service under Level 4 is a privilege. Compliance with the Level 4 protocols is critical to continue operating. Read the Level 4 protocols here.

All complaints or queries about potential non-compliant on orchard activity should be sent to Tom MacMorran at Zespri for investigation by their compliance team until further notice.

Masks:

Government guidance has been clear.  Wearing a mask is an important way to prevent the spread of COVID. Growers, please ensure that contractors on your orchards and their employees use masks, except where it is unsafe or impractical to do so.

Social distancing and hygiene:

As above, more precautions need to be taken because the Covid delta variant is highly contagious.  The Government is emphasising the following:

  • Workplace bubbles are more important than last time.  Watch that they are not broken before and after work, and at break times when people might want to gather together, by habit.  For example, in the smoko room or around the tractor.
  • Physical distancing is 2 metres.  If you have staff within 2 metres and using Perspex screening, they must use surgical masks as well.
  • Wear a mask at all times. To and from work, and at work, and any time you are outside your home bubble.
  • Temperature testing needs to be carried out before entering the worksite.  Staff with high temperatures must go home.
  • People who are unwell must stay at home.
  • Keep vulnerable people away from work at this time.
  • Consider reducing workplace density so that there are fewer people on-site to help with social distancing and mitigate risks
  • Keep encouraging everyone to get vaccinated
  • But being vaccinated does not mean people will not contract Covid and more importantly, they can still be a carrier.

Construction:

In a reversal from MPI’s advice communicated last Friday (20/8), MPI now advises that construction is not permitted under Level 4. Construction must be stopped except for:

  • Where work is time-critical (i.e. where existing plants would die if no action is taken right now); and
  • Construction which is considered nationally significant (note none of the construction needing to be undertaken in the kiwifruit sector meets that threshold).

This ruling is made so we are in line with other construction (including houses) which has been stopped and in accordance with efforts to control the spread of the virus. However, construction would be permitted under Alert Level 3 based on current guidance.

HiCane:

Applying HiCane in a nationwide lockdown is posing challenges this season and we strongly advise all spray applicators to consider taking extra public safety precautions, for the full list, click here. Operating as an essential service in lockdown is a privilege, and growers and contractors must follow all safety protocols and safe spraying requirements. The two key points are:

  • Please be extra considerate as neighbours can’t leave their homes while HiCane is applied.
  • Please also be aware many more people out are walking on rural roads during lockdown and extra care is needed when applying any agrichemicals near roads and walkways.

Financial assistance:

The application period opened last Friday and will remain open for two weeks. Businesses in the kiwifruit industry that are not conducting Essential Work, such as developers, or experiencing a revenue decline, may be entitled to the subsidy. Please do not apply for the subsidy unless your business meets the following criteria:

  • At least a 40% decline over the period between 17 August 2021 and 30 August 2021 inclusive compared to a typical 14-day consecutive period of revenue in the six weeks immediately before the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021, or
  • If your business has highly seasonal revenue, you must have at least a 40% decline over the 14-day period compared to the same 14 consecutive days in 2020 or 2019.

The subsidy is $600 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more) and $359 a week for each part-time employee retained (less than 20 hours a week). Please note that the subsidy will have to be repaid if revenue reduction does not eventuate. Also, applicants must make best endeavours to pay employees at least 80%. If not, they must pay at least the wage subsidy. This needs to be discussed with employees beforehand. More here.

Vaccinations:

While the DHBs are vaccinating Essential Workers, their current focus are those who are in direct contact with customers (petrol stations, supermarkets, etc). NZKGI will communicate with the industry if vaccinations become available.

Are Employers able to inquire about the COVID vaccination status of their staff?

An employer can ask, but the employee does not have to tell. The only exception are workers who are subject to the relevant testing and vaccination orders (mainly border workers).

Pastoral Care: 

Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254. FarmStrong resources: here.