9 Aug 2010

Horticulture NZ to review its budget

6:03 am on 9 August 2010

Horticulture New Zealand will meet to reassess its budget this week after fruit growers rejected a levy increase.

Last week, commercial fruitgrowers voted 3-1 in favour of turning down the levy rise, which would have cost them an extra $120 a year, or $15 dollars per $10,000 worth of sales.

The decision means the national umbrella group's annual income of $2.5 million, for research and other industry good activities, will be reduced by about $400,000 a year.

The levy increase would have brought fruit growers into line with the amount vegetable growers pay Horticulture New Zealand.

The president, Andrew Fenton, says it indicates that fruit growers are under financial pressure. He says Horticulture New Zealand's board will now consider what changes will need to be made to its funding and the way it operates.

Rick Curtis, chair of the Citrus Growers sector group, says the growers' decision to turn down the levy increase appears to be due to their financial situation and some dissatisfaction with aspects of Horticulture New Zealand.

He says his sector group has had a positive working relationship with the organisation, which he hopes will be able to continue its work without the increase in funding.