Following the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout New Zealand communities, it is obvious the disruption will worsen. This is happening at a critical time of year in nursery production.
Ensuring you can continue to operate and move plants is our primary goal.
We are working with officials and the rest of the horticulture industry to emphasise the importance of plants to the economy at this critical time. We need recognition of our industry as an essential business before the government moves the restrictions to Level 3 or 4.
Our industry is essential to the economy. New Zealand needs plants for food and to support jobs in the rest of the plant industries. We will advise you when we have achieved this essential industry status.
There is a lot of information and rumour circulating about dealing with corona virus and COVID-19. The most reliable source is the Ministry of Health, with a dedicated website at https://covid19.govt.nz/. This is updated regularly and has advice for businesses and employees, plus status updates. It also has posters and information sheets that you can print off and can be posted around your worksite.
Be aware that there is a lot of misinformation about. Spreading rumours is as dangerous as spreading the virus, so please, think twice before forwarding any links from unknown sources.
We are preparing a toolkit to assist you with managing COVID-19 in your workplace. This includes technical information, hygiene, workplace practices, and risk assessment tools.
The details of an initial business support package were released last week. A factsheet is available here.
Work & Income and BusinessNZ are keeping you informed about how this will apply to different businesses. Please let us know if you would like more information, or have concerns about this process.
As with a lot of the primary industries, there are a number of nursery owners and workers who are older than 70. Current advice is that no-one older than 70 should be at work. Ensure you provide support for them to keep safe at home. If you are in this situation, ensure that we have the details of the person in charge of your operation, so that we can communicate with them.
NZ Plant Producers is here to support you through the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively advocating for you with officials and the horticulture industry to bring you accurate and up-to-date guidance.
Call me if you need information, have concerns, and to let me know what is happening in your business or sector. You can reach me on 0276 229 255 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to come together as an industry to get through this.
NZ Plant Producers chief executive