[20 June/Rural Life]

Horticulture growers are being consulted about their support for the continuation of a levy to fund Horticulture New Zealand and its work. If more than 50 percent of growers vote in favour, an application would be made to the Ministry for Primary Industries for a new Commodity Levy Order. There would be no change to the maximum levy rate. Horticulture New Zealand President, Julian Raine, said even though the levy would remain at 14c, the total take would increase due to increased sales. He added it would receive about $4.8 million if growers voted to continue with the levy. He noted the levy was used to perform its functions and provide value to its growers. The levy money was spent on grower representation, advocacy and communication with growers. This year, it was responsible for increasing the number of places on the Seasonal Employer scheme by 600. Biosecurity is also a key focus.