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Presidents Report, April

Posted By HBFA | April 26, 2023

It is now over 3 months since Cyclone Gabrielle and while many of our growers have been kept busy with the harvest, the obvious question for those impacted remains “Where to now?”

This seemingly simple question remains near impossible to answer as there are so many complicated decisions still to be made. Central to any rebuild will be certainty around zoning and what role the government will play in supporting a recovery.

The reality is that repairing the extreme damage caused by this event is well beyond what can be funded by the risk mitigating reserves held by our industry. Without significant support from central government large pockets of the industry will be lost and the downstream effects will be felt widely. Horticulture not only feeds our nation it also employs nearly 7,000 people in Hawke’s Bay and is a major driver of the regional economy. A future without a vibrant Hawke’s Bay horticultural industry will create significant social and economic issues – we cannot allow this to happen.

The Hawke’s Bay horticulture industry is certainly not sitting on its hands. A sub- group of horticulture growers, iwi, and industry group representatives (including Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association) was established back at the beginning of March. This “Hawke’s Bay Horticulture Grower Taskforce” has worked to identify the specific needs of growers and landowners and develop a package of assistance for government to consider. The proposed recovery package has been designed around the assistance that was provided to farmers and growers after the devastating 2004 Manawatu floods. You will find more information about the proposed package via the following link – Communication with growers – HB Hort Recovery Package v2

We now await the response from government which we expect to be clarified ahead of the upcoming budget.

The challenge in front of us is huge, but we must move forward and with the right support there is an opportunity to grow back better, bigger, and stronger than before.

I want to finish off by again thanking our community for standing with us. There have been thousands of volunteers locally and from around the country who have offered help in the clean-up. I have seen people from all walks of life come together in unity to help others in need. Our region can only be the better for it.

Kia kaha,

Brydon Nisbet
HBFA President 

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