July 30, 2013
Court v Conference? Irony Not Lost on Horticulture New Zealand
It’s a big week for Horticulture New Zealand, as it holds its national conference to celebrate industry growth on one
side of Wellington while across town in the High Court it is battling against decisions which could stop the industry in
The irony of this is not lost on the 400 delegates attending the industry conference, all of them either growers or
industry suppliers determined to get horticulture to its goal of becoming a $10 billion industry by 2020.
HortNZ uses 30% of the levy funding it raises from all commercial fruit and vegetable growers to represent grower
interests in regional and district council planning across the country.
At the end of 2012 HortNZ was working on 43 different actions with councils. By the middle of this year that number had
risen to around 50, at an estimated cost of $750,000 last year alone. Officials in the Ministry for the Environment are
also predicting a significant increase in plan changes between 2016 and 2020, giving even more cause for concern.
The High Court case this week is to hear an appeal against the Environment Court’s decisions on the Horizons Regional
Council’s ‘One Plan’.
“What has happened in Horizons is just the tip of an enormous iceberg of misunderstanding, misinformation and misguided
old school thinking,” HortNZ president Andrew Fenton said in his speech to the conference this morning.
“The case is being run to try and prevent these mistakes repeating around the country through other councils, affecting
growers and the commercial viability of their horticulture businesses.
“Setting a precedent through the courts has become an accepted method of managing rights and interests, and this is
unacceptably dangerous for growers and business certainty.
“This means you can’t just say ‘hey, that’s not my region, it doesn’t matter’ because eventually, it will matter, for
all of us.”
The One Plan, as it now stands, will impose excessively harsh restrictions on horticulture and have a negative economic
impact on the region’s jobs, communities and the price of food production in New Zealand.