The All Blacks are in the final of the world cup, climatic conditions have shifted, fruit trees that appeared to be doomed during the floods are bouncing back to life (not all, of course, but more than expected), and we have a new government (although its formation is still to be determined). This is all good news.
We did not have an easy run under the previous government. The RSE settings during Covid resulted in significant labour shortages, even though robust alternative proposals were presented by industry organizations. The industry has also been burdened by significant increases in labour costs, which have pushed production costs to unprecedented levels.
I would however like to acknowledge outgoing Labour MP Anna Lorke. Anna has been a great advocate for our industry. She knows many of our growers and has worked very hard on our behalf across a range of issues. Her commitment to our region and especially horticulture cannot be questioned. She was also a great supporter of HBFA and always made an effort to attend our events – thank you Anna.
I’d like to welcome our new elected Tuki Tuki MP, National’s Catherine Wedd who is well known to our industry being a former NZAPI director and having spent a several years working for Bostock NZ. Catherine has a deep understanding of the issues facing horticulture and we look forward to seeing her advocate strongly on behalf of our region.
I would also like to thank The Evergreen Foundation (Tumu Group) for hosting an exceptional event earlier this month to show their support for cyclone-affected growers. They wanted to do something personal and tangible, so they devised a plan to fill approximately 130 apple bins with a variety of items, such as power tools, chemicals, pruning equipment, knife sets, wine, beer, etc. Impacted growers were invited to attend the event with their trailers to collect their bin, grab a bite to eat and network. I particularly liked the A3 poster in my bin which included the inspirational message “Keep going – Keep growing”. I’m advised that these posters were hand drawn by the kids of Tumu Group staff members – a lovely gesture.
I should also acknowledge the numerous other ways in which Evergreen Trust has supported the community since the cyclone. Their efforts to fund the collection and cleaning of tens of thousands of flood-damaged apple bins from across the province is particularly relevant to our industry. I am also aware that they also funded a large number of machine “digger” operators in the Esk Valley area to help clear orchards and clean out properties and dwellings of silt and debris.
In other news, Jan Buter represented HB at the National Young Grower of the Year competition earlier this month in Pukekohe. Jan won the “Young Fruit Grower” category and finished second in the National Young Grower competition. Congratulations to Jan and the entire T&G team that assisted him.
Many thanks to everyone who was able to make it to our 124th annual general meeting. Next year, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the HBFA, we intend to do something extra special; we will keep you updated on our plans.
Last but not least, a friendly reminder to everyone that our annual fishing competition will be held on October 31 (weather permitting). There will be a lot of wonderful prizes up for grabs at this fantastic event. Please pass on the information, and we will see you next week.
Kia kaha Brydon Nisbet