Compliance costs are changing the landscape of the
Orchardist and Summerfruit New Zealand chairman Gary
Bennetts, of Roxburgh, said increased compliance costs during
the past 20 years had made life ''tougher and tougher'' for
those in the industry and left many smaller growers unable to
compete in the marketplace.
He believed the loss of small growers was ''the worst part''
of the problem, as the industry needed ''a range of all sizes
of growers'', he said.''
What's medium-sized this year might be small in 10 years'
time [if the trend continues].''
As those in the industry were ''working in the real world
where we turn dirt into export dollars'', every cost added by
legislation made it harder to be profitable, he said.
It was not only the financial cost of compliance, but the
time spent ''in the office ticking boxes'' that was
frustrating, he said.
While he believed there were benefits to some of the
compliance programmes, it was the ''pedantic'' way in which
they were audited and applied that made them cumbersome.''
There could be a more pragmatic approach to how it's done,''
Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said
about 45% of Horticulture New Zealand's levies were spent on
its compliance programme and to represent growers' interests
in regional and district council planning.
The issue was ''just huge'', he said.
''There's a number of different compliance costs which our
members have to meet,'' Mr Silcock said.
''We have got the regulatory ones, we have also got market
access costs and also then we have got individual customers'
requirements as well as traceability documentation.
''It becomes a huge job for growers.''
Horticulture New Zealand president Julian Raine said:
''Compliance is a growing issue and everybody seems to be
inserting themselves into that space.''
Mr Silcock said the ongoing amendments to the Resource
Management Act and merging some local authorities would be
the first step to solving the issue.
However, Green Party environment spokeswoman Eugenie Sage
said the amending the Act could have the opposite effect, as
it would make subdivision easier and ''encourage urban sprawl
and the loss of good growing land''.
This could see land values rise and, along with them, rates,
which would increase costs for those in the industry. She
believed the answer was to increase the income of growers and
not to minimise the protections of the Act.
Environment Minister Amy Adams was unavailable for comment
when contacted by Southern Rural Life last week.
However, she had previously said the amendments to the Act
would retain the environmental protections of the Act, while
the ''cumbersome, uncertain and highly litigious'' nature of
previous legislation would be reduced.
- by Timothy Brown