Guide to the biosecurity levy
What is a biosecurity levy?
The recent Summerfruit NZ AGM activated the Biosecurity (Readiness and Response—Summerfruit Levy) Order 2019.
Biosecurity levies enable industries to fund their biosecurity readiness and response activities under the Government Industry Agreement.
The biosecurity levy is calculated and collected at the same time as the commodity levy and declarations are to be completed via the Summerfruit NZ online portal.
Biosecurity levies – the basics
- A biosecurity levy is imposed on summerfruit grown by commercial growers for commercial purposes.
- Commercial growers are primarily responsible for paying the levy.
- A grower may either pay the levy directly to Summerfruit NZ or use a collection agent such as a processor, marketer or exporter to pay the levy on their behalf.
- A biosecurity levy order is permanent but the levy rate can be varied as necessary to cover the biosecurity readiness and response activities which may include setting the rate to 0%.
What can the levy be used for?
The biosecurity levy money paid to Summerfruit NZ must be spent on meeting its commitments relating to readiness and response activities under the Government Industry Agreement.
The levy rate
There is a cap on the levy rate that can be collected. In the current biosecurity levy order, the levy can be collected up to a maximum rate of levy is 0.25% of the selling price of any summerfruit (plus GST, if any).
‘Up to’ is an important point, it means that any rate below this can be collected. It also means that the industry can’t collect more than 0.25%.
Unlike the commodity levy, the biosecurity rate is the same for all fruit types.
Are there any restraints?
The legislation places a number of requirements on Summerfruit NZ in regard to the setting of the biosecurity levy.
Summerfruit NZ may vary the levy rate for a current response activity without consulting its members provided the variation is approved by the Summerfruit NZ Board.
If the Board approves a variation of the levy rate, it may approve that variation:
(a) for an indefinite period of time; but
(b) only to a level that is sufficient for Summerfruit NZ to meet its response commitments under the agreement.
If Summerfruit NZ meets it response activity commitments and no further levy money is needed for those commitments under the agreement, it may vary the levy rate to zero for a response activity.
When varying a levy rate, Summerfruit NZ must set:
(a) the varied rate at a level that is sufficient, but does not exceed what is necessary, to enable it to meet its response activity commitments under the agreement; and
(b) a starting date for the varied rate that is not earlier than the day after the date on which Summerfruit NZ gives notice to its members.