Removing GST may be ‘nightmare’

Labour has vowed to remove GST from fruit and vegetables next year in a bid to curb rising food costs. Shawn McAvinue asks fruit and vegetable growers in the South if they think removing GST from fruit and vegetables will increase consumption and make it easier for growers to be viable.

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
Ettrick Gardens owner Heather Preedy, of Ettrick in Teviot Valley.

"I can’t get my head around how it is going to work. I know it is going to be an administration nightmare and I’m absolutely dreading it — I’ve got enough book work to do. I think there are a lot of other things they could do to keep prices down. I don’t think it will increase sales. My feeling is people aren’t going to eat more vege because the GST is not on it and if they do, it will be the people who can afford the fruit and vege now anyway."

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
Armstrong and Co owner Peter Armstrong, of Totara in North Otago.

"I don’t think it is going to be an improvement at all. I don’t think it is a good idea and I don’t think it is going to help."

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
Vern Paddock Project owner Jed Tweedie, of Mihiwaka in Dunedin.

"Yes, if the ultimate aim is to reduce the cost of fruit and vegetable for the consumer, but then everything I hear about it says it is not a great idea and there are better ways to get money to people who really need it but if the wealthy are buying more fruit and veges, that’s still a good thing.  ... If the GST was taken off through the whole system, there would be a bigger saving and encourage more farmers growing produce for the community, I think that’s what we need."

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
Darlings Fruit owner Stephen Darling, of Ettrick in Teviot Valley.

"I think it is important for fruit and vegetables to be affordable but we’ve got to have an industry that allows farmers to survive. Taking that 15% off the top is a step forward for people’s health and wellbeing and I hope it will lead to more fruit and vege being eaten and make it more affordable for families. What growers need to survive is a better price at the farm gate. What we need is a greater share of the final retail price."

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
Saddleview Greens owner Dale Jordan, of Mosgiel in Dunedin.

"The information on it is vague and I don’t know how it will work for us. We would still have to pay GST on everything, I need to do the growing and those costs have gone crazy, and if my stuff is going to be sold minus the GST, who takes up that slack There’s a lot we don’t know and the benefit everyone is going to get for buying their produce GST-free, those savings are probably not worth the hassle."

Photo: Allied Press files
Photo: Allied Press files
The Big Cherry owner Chris Toms, of Coal Creek in Teviot Valley.

"No, it will make no difference at all. The supermarkets will just put their prices up."