13 Mar 2015

Kiwifruit referendum closes soon

6:37 am on 13 March 2015

Kiwifruit growers have got just a week left to vote in a referendum which organisers say is designed to future proof the industry and protect grower control.


Photo: 123RF

So far about a third of growers have voted on recommendations from the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project, or KISP.

The eight recommendations cover areas that include the industry's single desk marketing structure, and grower ownership of the marketer, Zespri.

A grower representative on the project, Peter Ombler, said he expected the referendum to reaffirm support for the current industry structure, but said there are some changes proposed that growers need to decide on.

"Things, for example, around the ownership of Zespri, and making some alterations that are going to ensure that growers retain control of their industry - really the whole focus of this project has been about grower control."

However, the Independent Kiwifruit Growers group said the recommendations did not go far enough in resolving the issue it has with the current ownership of Zespri, where 20 percent of growers control 75 percent of the shares.

It also had issues with the voting process and called on growers to reject the recommendations.

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