Frequently Asked Questions: Level 4 COVID-19 Information
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Required registration as essential business with MPI
Growers must register directly with MPI by 5pm on 27 March if they have more than 5 employees on orchard (including the owner), outlining the steps you’re taking to protect workers from Covid-19 transmission.
- Is kiwifruit an essential business?
Yes, all food production is essential business under Covid-19 Alert Level 4. This includes picking, and any other essential work including orchard maintenance that must be done to ensure that food production continues for this year or next year. However if the work can be delayed until after Level 4 is lifted, it should be delayed.
- What if I have fewer than five employees?
Essential businesses employing five people or fewer (including the owner) that can keep a 2m distance between people at all times are exempt from registration. But if you want to keep operating during Level 4, you need to comply with the guidelines for keeping people working in your business safe at work and on their way to work. You also need to ensure your contractors are meeting requirements.
- Does my contractor have to be registered?
Yes, if your contractor is operating an essential business and has 5 or more employees, they must register. Growers should ask contractors/orchard manages to declare in writing (by email) that they have registered and they should ask for a copy of the protocols that are in place to keep the contractor and their staff safe.
- How do I answer the questions on the registration form?
NZKGI and Zespri have worked together to establish a Kiwifruit Orchard Guideline for Minimising Spread of COVID-19 available here. We believe this is a strong starting point for any grower considering how they can meet Government requirements. The Guideline can be used and referred to in addition to your own business specific rules to answer these questions
- How can I make sure everyone who works on my orchard is protected?
NZKGI & Zespri have developed a guideline to Minimising the spread of Covid-19 on orchard – available here.
- Will I get confirmation of my registration?
MPI are working on an automatic response to confirm your registration has been approved. If you registered before this was implemented, MPI will send you a registration number in the coming days. If you are completing your registration, we recommend that you take a screenshot or photo of the completion screen to prove you have registered. The Police are aware that there has been no confirmation of registration provided.
- How will this system be policed?
The Police and MPI will be undertaking compliance and verification activities and can shut down operations if risks are not being sufficiently managed.
- What if I don’t register?
Essential businesses that don’t register must not be operating, this is a legally enforceable requirement.
- What if my orchard is leased?
The party undertaking work on the property must register with MPI.
- I won’t be harvesting until after Level 4 is due to be lifted. Should I still register?
Yes. If you have more than five employees, it’s prudent to register in case Level 4 is extended past the original four-week period.
- How can I find my Food Act Registration number?
You can find this on MPI’s website here.
- How can I find my NZBN number?
An NZBN number is only required for companies. You can find this on the NZBN website here. Enter 0 if you do not have one.
- Where can I go for more information?
If you need assistance to complete the registration form, please contact Zespri 0800 155 355 or NZKGI 0800 232 505 or contact your packhouse.
Working under the new guidelines
- What are my responsibilities if I don’t have to register?
You can only use a contractor registered with MPI as an essential business with Covid-19 guidelines in place. Ask contractors to declare in writing (by email) that they have registered and ask for a copy of the protocols in place to keep the contractor and their staff safe. You need to make sure the contractor is following hygiene protocols.
- Who is responsible for providing toilets and handwashing facilities for workers?
Growers are responsible for ensuring there are appropriate toilet and handwashing facilities for workers to use.
- Can I check on my bins while picking is underway?
If you are registered as an essential business or meet the exemption requirements, you should check with your contractor as to their procedures. You must stand at least 2m away from any other person.
- Can I go out to my production block by myself to check on my vines and mow?
If you are registered as an essential business or meet the exemption requirements, you can undertake essential activities. This includes picking, and any other essential work that must be done on-orchard to ensure that food production continues. If the work can be delayed until after Level 4 is lifted, it must be delayed.
- Can growers over 70 years’ old still work on their orchards? Can people over 70 who contribute essential services in the horticulture industry keep working?
Government strongly advises people over 70 to self-isolate for their own protection – refer here. These workers may be eligible for a leave subsidy – more here.
- Will workers need some sort of documentation for going to and from their places of work? If so, what will they need?
A travel permit is not required but the Police will be stopping people and checking on their need to travel. You may want to provide your employees with a letter to clarify that they are working in an essential service. There is a template available for your use, please alter as required. Template available here.
Who do I contact for support for myself or someone I know?