Industry withers in Spring as strict lockdown rules bite

The commercial flower industry is being left out in the cold in this latest lockdown. It’s an industry that can’t close its doors and get a wage subsidy to pay its staff. It’s a constant process of planting, toil and regeneration, National’s Horticulture spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Commercial growers are unable to send their products to market despite sales channels being open to other products. One grower told me they can buy ‘donuts and alcohol, but not flowers’.

“Horticulturists have been selfless and patient in complying with lockdowns like other New Zealanders. However, they do expect a fair playing field where they can undertake contactless delivery with consumers and other essential service retailers.

“It is entirely possible for contactless delivery to occur in Alert Level 4, like the provision of other stable products. Unlike some other businesses that are shut down but will have product to return to when they resume business, commercial growers have long lead in periods and over the winter they have had to nurture the flowers in the most expensive period of growth.

“While MPI has made reassuring comments over support for the horticulture sector, time is of the essence and businesses need certainty as soon as possible.

“I urge the Government to support this sector. It has perishable goods and no other option but to watch their hard work wither.”