19 July 2017

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Shanna Hickling
2017 Young Achiever

In this issue

  • Myrtle rust
  • NZPPI on Rural Delivery
  • GM Petunia
  • Member Recruitment
  • NZPPI Conference
  • Shanna Hickling, 2017 Young Achiever winner
  • NZPPI Special Interest Groups

Myrtle Rust

The list of infected sites continues to grow – 91 as of Monday. Most sites are private gardens (75), with Lophomyrtus (55) and Metrosideros (35) the most frequently infected species, and the Te Puke (21) and north Taranaki (64) areas accounting for most of detections.

MPI continues to focus surveillance in the areas where myrtle rust is known to be present. In the north Taranaki region, surveillance has extended out to the Controlled Area boundary including Inglewood and Stratford. The Controlled Area extends 10km from known infected sites in Waitara and includes New Plymouth city, Spotswood and Inglewood. The map of the controlled area is available here.

DOC are undertaking surveillance in target areas in other parts of the country.

Catherine Duthie, MPI Incident Controller talks myrtle rust on Radio New Zealand (19/7/17)

Myrtaceae Fungicide Treatments in Winter

Now that winter’s upon us (as if we need reminding after last week!) we’ve updated our Myrtle Rust Nursery Management Protocol to provide for monthly fungicide treatment of myrtaceae stock in nurseries and verified this with MPI. The protocol now specifies a regular fungicide treatment programme across all myrtaceous plants:

  • Fortnightly from spring to late autumn (October to May)
  • Monthly in winter (June to September)

Continued Vigilance Important Please

While it’s anticipated that winter conditions will suppress rust symptoms and spread, recent new detections show that continued vigilance, crop inspections and adherence to NZPPI’s myrtle rust protocols is crucial. There have been no new detections in nurseries for some time (so far there have been just eight). This is a credit to all who have acted early with nursery inspections, preventative programmes and transport protocols.

Controlled Area Movement Controls

Moving myrtaceae plants, fruit or green waste out of the Controlled Area is illegal.

This includes any plants that are carried in sales vans or plant transporters that enter the controlled area and are planning to transit through.
This came to light recently when myrtaceae plants in a nursery sales van (from outside the area) had to be removed from the van before it left the Controlled Area! If you are visiting or travelling through the Controlled Area, do not carry myrtaceae plants.

Growing, Selling and Planting Myrtaceae

It’s OK to grow, sell and plant myrtaceae varieties through most of New Zealand. Restrictions are in place only in the north Taranaki Controlled Area, and a few other places where MPI have issued formal notices.

It is however essential that all nurseries, transporters and retailers follow the NZPPI myrtle rust protocols for plants susceptible to myrtle rust. The protocols help industry members ensure the risk of our businesses becoming infected or distributing myrtle rust is managed to the best of our ability. MPI also have guidance for growers, beekeepers, orchadists (including feijoas) and home gardeners.

Spring and beyond

Come spring, plant producers and retailers will be at the forefront of the effort to determine exactly where the disease is present and the scale of the outbreak. Growing conditions will again be ideal for the fungus with many vulnerable young plants in sheltered, warm and damp environments, and if myrtle rust has spread beyond where it is currently known to be present, there’s a good chance it will be a member of our industry who will see it first. MPI’s also working on contingency plans, and NZPPI has provided feedback on options being considered for the transition to long term management should it become apparent that the rust has spread well beyond areas where it is currently known to be.

NZPPI on Rural Delivery

The plant producer industry featured on TVNZ1's Rural Delivery on 8 July. Andrew Harrison (NZPPI Board Chair) and Mike Simpson of Waimea Nurseries talk about NZPPI, and the massive contribution plant producers make to New Zealand’s society and economy. If you missed it, you can view the video clip on Rural Delivery’s website.

Shanna Hickling, 2017 Young Achiever winner

Congratulations to Shanna Hickling of Riversun Nursery in Gisborne who won the Young Achiever title for 2017 at NZPPI's conference in Hamilton, July 5.

Three finalists, Shanna, Grace Ng from Horticentre Group and Corey Ronaldson from Kericell Nursery, competed in a number of activities during conference. Shanna was announced as the winner Wednesday night at the Gala Dinner at Novotel Tainui Hamilton.

more here

Thanks to award sponsors Horticentre Trust and HortFertplus

GM Petunia - update

NZPPI is working with MPI and growers on two fronts.

  • The first started with the recall of impacted varieties so that none are on the market this spring.   Growers have responded well to calls to make us and MPI aware of impacted varieties they’ve unknowingly grown in the past.  Now that they are aware of the issue, they’ve destroyed any seed or propagation stock.  We’ve a high level of confidence that all varieties that will be sold in New Zealand will be GM-free. The list of impacted varieties continues to change, and we and growers are also helping MPI compile a database of all petunias in the NZ market to aid a rapid response to the identification of newly impacted varieties overseas and the determination of whether they are in New Zealand.
  • The second is with MPI’s plant imports team and their work in reviewing the import health standard for petunia seed and nursery stock.  Currently imports are subject to emergency measures enacted in June, requiring all petunia imports to be accompanied by a GM test certificate.  Work with MPI, importers, breeders and seed producers seeks a practicable solution that will give MPI the assurance it needs while enabling an efficient import pathway

If you import petunia seed, tissue or nursery stock and you’re not on our GM Petunia mailing list, please contact John Liddle,

Member Recruitment

A strong theme among conference delegates was a desire to help grow NZPPI’s producer membership. At the end of June, we had a total of 90 Producer members and contracted parties, and while this a good way towards our aspirations of having 200 producer members inside NZPPI’s first three years, there’s still some distance to go, and further recruitment plans are underway.

An early “next step” is a campaign among existing NZPPI members to work with their non-member colleagues and neighbours. We’re preparing a “member-get-member” kit which will be with you soon.

Of course, if you’re a non-NZPPI member reading this now, you need not wait for a member to tap you on the shoulder – you can find out more directly!

NZPPI Conference

NZPPI’s inaugural conference early this month was a huge success with presentations and discussions encompassing key issues for producers, industry partners and from NZPPI’s recently developed strategic plan.

Conference opened with a karakia from Tainui kaumatua, a welcoming address from Hamilton Mayor Andrew King and keynote speaker Donna Flavel spoke of Tainui’s journey towards a vibrant future for its people and the Waikato.

Sessions followed covering science initiatives, NZPPI’s Science and Innovation Strategy, myrtle rust, industry workforce capability, threats to bees and pollination, employment and workplace health and safety issues, and the benefits of taking ownership of environmental issues.

We’ll have more reporting on conference soon and are gathering presentations to post on the conference webpage.

Thanks to conference sponsors Daltons, ICL Specialty Fertilisers, Norwood Industries, Cosio Industries, Interworld Plastics, Primehort and Westpac.

NZPPI Special Interest Groups

A cornerstone of the NZPPI model are Special Interest Groups (SIGs), where groups of our members can coalesce and work on activities of interest to a sub-group of our membership.

Two groups have been formed to date – one to look after the interests of trolley users and another to facilitate MPI approval of several offshore facilities who export fruit tree germplasm to New Zealand.

SIGs work with the NZPPI Board and management team under agreed Terms of Reference which are in turn guided by NZPPI’s SIG Policy.

If you’ve an interest in trolleys or fruit tree imports you can learn more from Chairs of the SIG’s Steering Groups:

Sally Brown and Debbie Pascoe are working to set up an industry partner and retail SIG. If you’d like to help or be part of this, please contact
Sally ( or Debbie (

Contact Frances Palmer ( if you’d like to know more about SIG’s and how they can work for you.


©2017 NZPPI
New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated
PO Box 3443, Wellington 6140
Level 5, 23 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
P: 04 918 3511 | F: 04 499 9589
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