15 May 2023, NZ: The Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti horticulture industries urgently need more Government direction and support if they are to recover to pre-cyclone levels of growth within the next decade.
‘We applaud the wider investment that the Government is making nationally in the recovery and the future of New Zealand. However, Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti fruit and vegetable growers urgently need more Government direction and support and if the industry is to fully recover,’ says HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil.
‘While we are encouraged by statements that the Government wants to work with communities and industries like ours, this needs to happen as soon as possible – by June as the Government has promised – and not be a bureaucratic nightmare. If the recovery doesn’t speed up, we will lose more businesses from our industry – businesses that pump upwards of a billion dollars a year into the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti economies.’
Barry says it is not as if the Government is alone in spending heavily on the recovery.
‘Growers have invested millions in the recovery too, so they do not lose uninsurable biological assets like trees and vines, as well as talented and committed staff.
‘What growers need now is a more direction, for example, on land use, and alternative funding options if the horticulture industry is to get back to pre-cyclone and Covid growth levels, and not lose what it has built up over decades.
‘Our industry’s focus is on the long-term. We do not want to see the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti horticulture industries needlessly lose their competitive advantage as that will cost the regions and the country billions in lost jobs and export revenue.’
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