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Organisational Docs / NZKGI Levy Referendum

NZKGI Levy Referendum

Kiwifruit growers show outstanding support for advocacy group

  • Referendum results strongest ever for advocacy organization
  • 91% of growers participating in referendum vote to continue levy for NZKGI

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) have been given a strong mandate by kiwifruit growers to work on their behalf for the next six-year kiwifruit levy cycle.

The Declaration of Result was provided by the independent Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, of Of those who voted, 91% of growers supported the proposed levy, equating to 94% their total production of the foregone season. Votes were cast by 54% of growers eligible to vote in the referendum, representing 68% of total production.

These results compare to the previous levy referendum in 2017 of which 85% of voters supported the proposed levy and their production equated to 88% support. Votes were cast by 49% of growers eligible to vote in the referendum, representing 63% of eligible voter’s total production of the foregone season.

“This great result reflects the return on investment that NZKGI has delivered growers over the last six years. It is an especially pleasing turnout despite the recent adverse weather and harvest which have put growers under the pump”, says NZKGI Chairman, Mark Mayston. “The kiwifruit industry is experiencing a challenging time with increased regulations and pressure across the whole supply chain. But the future remains bright and NZKGI will be there to make sure that growers’ interests remain the top priority”.

NZKGI CEO Colin Bond says, “We are very pleased with this support from growers for NZKGI to continue to advocate for them. Our organization is focused on overcoming their challenges, be they driven by changes to climate or regulations, and ensuring growers are receiving maximum benefit from the industry structure. In order for NZKGI to advocate, I encourage all growers to continue to voice their opinion with their representatives to make sure that our organization is focusing on issues important to them”.

Kiwifruit growers first voted to establish a kiwifruit commodity levy to fund the operation of NZKGI in 2011. Since that time, the organization advocates for growers in national and local Government decision making, succession planning for the industry, promotion of seasonal jobs, representation of the industry at an international level and communication to growers on business-critical issues. The levy will be used to continue to fund the operations of NZKGI and, in particular, there will be significant new activity in performance monitoring. The levy remains set at 1.1c/tray and can only be increased by vote at a NZKGI AGM or Special General Meeting.

NZKGI has informed the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor of the result and will be applying to the Minister’s office for a new levy order that would run for a maximum of six years.

Referendum results

2011 2017 2023
Percent of eligible growers who voted 42% 49% 54%
Voters who voted YES 87% 85% 91%
Percent of eligible production of growers who voted 53% 63% 68%
Percentage of production from growers voting YES 85% 88% 94%


Previous information on the levy follows below:

From 23 February until 24 March, New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers are invited to participate in a postal and online referendum for a compulsory levy on kiwifruit exports except Australia.

The proposed levy would continue to fund NZKGI’s activities which will include an increased focus on the monitoring and reporting of industry performance. The last referendum took place in 2017. Since that time NZKGI has used the levy to produce significant outcomes for kiwifruit growers. This has included supporting growers through COVID-19, to advocate for the Single Point of Entry marketing structure, hold Zespri to account and to attract labour to the industry.”

NZKGI Chairperson, Mark Mayston strongly encourages growers to vote in the referendum. “It is in each individual growers’ interest to be engaged in this process. As we are seeing with issues like the proposed ban of Hi-Cane, the success of their business often comes down to the advocacy that NZKGI provides them.”

The referendums’ significance is reinforced by NZKGI CEO Colin Bond who says, “this is an important opportunity for kiwifruit growers to make their vote count and we strongly encourage all Growers to participate in the referendum. Grower votes will show the Minister for Primary Industries the level of support there is to continue the funding for kiwifruit grower advocacy.”

All growers are entitled to vote and will be sent voting papers. A grower is considered to be the “titleholder of kiwifruit”, meaning a person that has legal and beneficial title to kiwifruit when it is supplied to an exporter. The grower is sometimes not the owner of land.

Growers who have not received a ballot pack in the post by Wednesday, 1st of March should contact NZKGI on 0800 232 505 or


NZKGI has produced many achievements for Growers over the last five years. These include:

  • Attracting seasonal labour to pick and pack Growers’ crops
  • Supporting Growers to continue operating through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Supporting the Single Point of Entry marketing structure to bolster Grower returns
  • Monitoring Zespri’s performance and communicating the results to Growers
  • Communicating to Growers about business-critical information
  • Representing and promoting good stories about the kiwifruit industry in the media
  • Advocating for Growers on policy and regulations at national and local government levels
  • Supporting succession planning by promoting industry careers
  • Advocating for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry on the international stage

But there are many challenges ahead. Labour shortages and increased regulations are critical areas that NZKGI must lead to advocate for Growers. We are also ramping up our efforts in industry performance monitoring as well as how we communicate with you.

As we have seen with COVID-19, primary industries such as horticulture can have a lot of surprises, and if it wasn’t for some quick thinking and everyone pulling together, working with Government to be recognised as an essential business, developing protocols, and implementing processes to keep the industry running, the results could have been devastating. Only with your support can NZKGI continue to exist.

About the Commodity Levy

Levy Proposal Brochure

Benefits of a Commodity Levy

Consultation on the Levy Renewal

Frequently Asked Questions

NZKGI’s Levy Brochure