The NZPPI Board met on 18 August to consider members' views and determined that there is strong support for our proposal. They have therefore agreed to submit an application to the Minister for Agriculture to join the GIA.
We received 3 written responses, all of which were supportive of NZPPI’s proposal to join the GIA.
We also received a significant amount of feedback during our regional visits, phone calls and our online sessions, also supportive of our proposal.
Some of the issues raised during the consultation include:
One member queried NZPPI’s membership as a portion of the sector and if it had sufficient membership for a meaningful mandate.
Our response is that NZPPI currently has 112 members from an estimated industry headcount of 350 full time nursery businesses. However, we estimate that NZPPI members make up approx 75% of the value of the sector. We anticipate that joining GIA will encourage new members.
There was support for our proposal to fund our GIA commitments from member subscriptions and potentially an activated biosecurity levy if needed in the future. There were questions about the costs that NZPPI’s members would face in GIA with concerns that signing GIA would bring new costs.
We explained that NZPPI already funds a range of activities that would be recognised as meeting the minimum commitments in GIA. These activities are already in NZPPI’s operating budgets and are likely to remain at a similar level in the foreseeable future.
Additional funding may be required via an increase in subscriptions or a biosecurity levy if there was a significant increase in readiness costs, or in the case of a cost shared biosecurity incursion.
There was concern about the possible costs to our members in the case of a biosecurity incursion.
The consultation process provided us with an opportunity to explain how a biosecurity levy may be used to fund costs for a biosecurity incursion, but that a biosecurity levy was not part of the current proposal. Our proposal refered to a biosecurity levy set at 0%.
Concerns were raised about free riding and the difficulty in preventing the benefits of NZPPI’s biosecurity activities to non -members.
It is generally recognised that it is difficult to prevent free riding of NZPPI’s activities by non-members.
Plant producers that are not part of NZPPI will be recognised as ‘non-signatory beneficiaries’ in Operational Agreements and will be represented by the Government. They would not be covered by other industry organisations and there is a reputational issue to being seen as a free rider.
We received feedback about NZPPI’s ability to adequately protect plant producers in a biosecurity incursion. For example, NZPPI would not have sufficient power to negotiate an acceptable outcome against a large, well-funded sector, such as Kiwifruit (representing growers).
On the face of it this may be the case, however GIA provides far more protection for plant producers that are part of GIA than not.
The ability to establish Operational Agreements for key pests and diseases was welcomed. This is an important opportunity for NZPPI if it signs GIA. GIA enables NZPPI to initiate discussions with other industry organisations to identify these risks and begin planning to develop response plans and Operational Agreements. NZPPI is already contributing to an Operational Agreement for Xylella with NZ Winegrowers and others and is already considering opportunities for other agreements.
There was no feedback suggesting, or recommending, that NZPPI should seek to represent plant producers that are not NZPPI members. Neither did we receive feedback from any non-members seeking to be represented by NZPPI. It was generally understood that joining NZPPI provided the best way to participate in GIA. There was general feedback that NZPPI has been talking about joining GIA for a number of years and is the main reason that many of our members are part of the organisation. They are encouraging us to progress towards submitting our application.
The next step is for us to submit our application to the Minister. Depending on the timing and outcome of the election we expect to progress towards signing the GIA Deed before the end of 2020.