CEO’s Update December 2014
Posted on 10/12/2014
As we approach the end of another busy year, last month’s weather events reminded us that no matter how technologically advanced we have become in many areas, we are still often at the mercy of Mother Nature’s whims.
The local horticulture industry has battled back well from a number of challenges over the last decade, including the high NZ dollar, competition from growers in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres, and the effects of the GFC to a point where three of the last four export apples seasons in particular have generated encouraging returns.
On the back of a solid 2014 season there is good optimism for the 2015 season as well, although this has been tempered somewhat by recent hail storms which initially hit parts of Motueka and Riwaka, and then a week or so later impacted the Mapua area.
While it is still too early to get an accurate idea of the extent of the damage, indications via the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency seem to be that we could have lost the equivalent of 15-25% of the total 2014 volumes for next season.
On top of all of this we currently find ourselves heading into the Christmas period with a fraction of the normal rainfall we would have expected over the October – December period. Many areas that are normally green are taking on a look we would expect to find in late January/early February.
This current situation is particularly ironic given we are just coming up to the second anniversary of the December 2012 floods which caused so much damage across Nelson and Tasman, quite a lot of which is still evident in scarring around our hillside areas.
Water supplies in the region now and into the future are a major topic of conversation with the debate around the proposed Waimea Community Dam. Most feedback would appear to support the requirement for the dam, the main point of discussion being what the appropriate funding model is to finance the project.
We hope that the weather gods will look favourably on us in the coming weeks to top up the region’s rivers and water supply areas as this is a critical time in the growing cycle for many of our export crops. In the short to medium term we also hope the region’s leaders can come up with a funding plan for the Waimea Community Dam project that is palatable to the majority of ratepayers across Nelson Tasman areas but also delivers the water resources that we need for the future.
To close on a slightly brighter note, last month we held our 11th annual Port and Transport Charity Golf Day at Nelson Golf Club. The event was well supported once again by importers, exporters, transport operators and shipping lines, with a good number of attendees from out of town.
Aside from providing a very enjoyable day for those who took part, we also raised somewhere in excess of $15,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Nelson. This is a great cause and the funds will go towards providing mentoring services for young children in our community.
We wish you all a safe and relaxing Christmas/New Year period with your families and hope you get the chance for a break and come back refreshed for the year ahead.