Support Service nursery operations explained
24 March 2020

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Our priority is to keep you and your team safe. We are closely monitoring Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries information.

Level 4 restrictions apply from tomorrow, meaning non-essential businesses, including some nursery operations, must close.

We are working with government and industry to ensure our industry can play its role in supporting the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders during the crisis and to be part of the recovery.

Nurseries that are essential industries

  • Last night MPI announced that primary industries involved in food and beverage production and their supporting sectors would be recognised as essential services. This includes all nurseries producing grape vines, fruit trees and vegetable plants for commercial production.
  • These nurseries can continue to operate, under strict rules to manage risk. This includes registering their business, and providing their procedures and processes to manage the health of workers.
  • We are working with MPI and the horticulture & viticulture industries to develop the procedures and systems for safe nursery operation.

Retail and landscape nurseries

  • Our ability to secure the continuation of basic operations in other sectors is uncertain. It is highly unlikely that garden centres will be able to sell amenity and garden plants to the public, as these are not essential.
  • We are seeking allowance for basic operations for plant survival, maintain stock material, biosecurity etc, to continue. Nurseries are encouraged to identify critical stock that they seek to protect.
  • We are requesting that vegetable seedlings can continue to be sold to support the food supply in the many households and communities that rely on their own food production.

Native nurseries

  • Native nurseries are not classified as essential, however it is recognised that the survival of native plants is critical for New Zealand in the recovery phase and beyond.
  • We are requesting that minimum operations for plant survival are able to continue. If we can secure this, we will continue our work to establish procedures and systems for these operations to be undertaken safely.
  • We have emphasised the importance of native plants to NZ’s future and that the loss of the current crop of native plants would require up to 5 years to recover.
  • We have also highlighted the critical importance of seed collection, and that this is a solitary activity that can be managed safely by competent people.

Forestry nurseries

  • Forestry nurseries are not classified as essential.
  • We seek the ability to undertake minimum husbandry practices.

The government has been clear that there is a high threshold for sectors or activities to be classified as essential. It is not prepared to negotiate or compromise this but will work with our industry to enable critical activities to continue.

It understands the impact COVID-19 restrictions will place on nursery businesses and jobs but is clear it’s priority is saving New Zealanders’ lives.

Enabling any activities to happen in businesses is based on trust.

How you can help:

We have a lot of work to do to bring this together. We appreciate the assistance that we are getting from our members providing information and support for each other and the NZ Plant Producers team.

Please keep the communication lines open. Let us know what you are seeing and how we can help.

Call us here at NZ Plant Producers – Matthew Dolan, 0276 229 255.