Lower consumer prices welcomed but vegetable growers calling for less Govt red tape

  • 15/11/2023

Vegetable NZ is welcoming the lower prices Kiwis are paying at the checkout but has hit out at government regulations, which are affecting growers.  

It's been a tough time for vegetable growers, extreme weather events, labour shortages, mounting regulations and increasing costs have taken a heavy toll on the industry.   

But there was some good news for consumers with Stats NZ revealing on Tuesday the price of fruit and vegetables in October had fallen by 3.4 percent compared to September.  

Vegetable NZ Chair John Murphy told AM on Wednesday morning growers welcome the lower costs for Kiwis but increasing regulations are stifling the industry.  

"We do have some challenges right now but it's really fantastic to see such good supply right now. Kiwis can get really good value from capsicum to asparagus, to rocket and everything in between but we do have some challenges going forward," he said. 

He told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green he has spoken to someone in the incoming government about these issues and he's "optimistic" they understand. 

"There is no doubt we have had some attrition and some of our numbers are getting down, but the key issues we need great people to work with... we need access to water and we need good availability to land. We also need to make sure compliance doesn't get in the way of good productivity," he said.  

"So just on compliance, if I could, an example would be government ministries that ask for extremely detailed reports right during a peak harvest windows. If I'm frank, cucumbers and tomatoes don't stay fresh, if we have to pause our harvest to write a report for the Ministry for the Environment." 

Watch the full interview with John Murphy in the video above.