2021 in Review

21 Dec 2021

Looking back on the past year, it's been as much about what we have learned as what we have achieved and it looks like 2022 will be challenging again. 

Our industry has continued to deliver despite everything that has been thrown at it. The demand for plants is increasing across the board and through the challenges we have again stepped up to meet it. 

How and how much Covid 19 has impacted you this year likely depends on where you and what you produce.  By far the worst affected have been our Auckland retail members.  They have seriously taken one for the team and showed unbelievable patience and agility as they ground through a 9 week shutdown.  The plant producers that supply the Auckland market have also been affected, demonstrating that how much producers and buyers rely on each other.  Other parts of our industry have had to adapt to new safety procedures, while keeping their staff engaged and turning up to work each day.  This has been a massive, exhausting challenge.   

A month ago we predicted that the Delta variant would be carving a path of destruction through the regions by now, but it hasn’t happened like that.  It's too hard to predict what will happen next but the engagement and action we have seen from NZPPI's members indicates that we are as ready as we can be.   

This year we saw changes in government policies that will have far reaching impacts down the track.  Adapting to new rules in the areas of climate change, biosecurity, immigration, plant variety rights and the workplace is going to be a key focus for NZPPI next year.  We will continue to have our members backs on this, making sure that you are being considered and that the rules are workable. 

Access to skilled workers is the issue of our time.  There are labour shortages right across the economy and our sector may be faring better than some others.  Skilled overseas workers are not coming back any time soon, and when they are allowed in the rules for employing them will be way harder.  Facing this reality, many of our members are coming up with creative ways to attract and develop people in their local regions. During 2021 we launched the hugely successful Plant Careers initiative to attract and develop workers in our industry to assist with this.  

Our native and exotic forestry members have had another successful season, even with the severe disruption of Auckland, Waikato and Northland nurseries that were impacted by the lockdowns at a critical planting time.The future continues to look bright for the sector driven by climate change policies, more infrastructure projects, farm plantings and urban / regional reforestation. At the same time there is uncertainty as the Billion Trees funding has finished and we are yet to see a replacement scheme. We are asking Government for a long term strategy and investment plan for the sector.  

We made significant progress on plant imports and next year you will see a new strategy, financial investment and more focus in this important area in the new year.  

Another notable success this year was the development of the Plant Pass biosecurity certification scheme, which will ramp up in early 2022.  Indications are that Plant Pass will be strongly supported by plant buyers and we are encouraging all plant producers to register for the programme and then work towards certification when your customers request it.  

Waste is also on the radar in 2022 with an announcement in August that plastic packaging and farm plastics will be regulated from 2025. Plastic pots, trays and labels will be captured in the new regulations, requiring our industry to establish a recycling scheme within the 3 years. NZPPI has opened up a discussion about how to do this and we are welcoming your feedback.

There’s a lot to do but the next task is to enjoy the festive season. From the team here at NZPPI, we thank you for your support during the year and we wish you all the very best for the holidays.

Our office closes on 24th December, reopening on 5th January.  I will be back on board on the 24th January. 

Merry Christmas! 

Matt Dolan




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