Independent industry review

Update from Alasdair MacLeod

The industry review has commenced, with the interview questionnaire designed for growers, packers and exporters, as well as interview questionnaires for MPI, MBIE and other sector groups and interest groups. An interview questionnaire has also been developed to be used in an online survey, so that all levy payers have the opportunity to participate in the process.  

The first trial interview with a grower has been done, as well as the first trial interview with an external organisation. I have deliberately kept away from growers while you are busy with your seasonal peak, but over the next week a number of you will be contacted to arrange a time when I can meet you for individual interviews. Each interview takes a round one and a half hours – I appreciate that you are all busy people, but I want to learn as much as I can about what is important to you over the next 5-10 years as growers/packers/exporters. 

It is worth pointing out that the initial contact to set up the times will be from Summerfruit NZ. This is for efficiency reasons, and it has no impact on the independence of the process. Once interviewees have been contacted, the online questionnaire will be published on this website and announced in Prunings.  

I’m very much looking forward to meeting a number of you over the next six weeks or so, and to get the opportunity to explore in some detail the issues that you expect to confront and the opportunities that you see ahead as you look out over the next 5-10 years. 

Published 29 January 2020

Summerfruit industry review underway

The independent review of the summerfruit industry is now underway, with interviews expected to start in Hawke’s Bay later this month (and into January), and with the grower interviews in Central Otago expected to commence in early February. In addition, interviews will be scheduled with a number of other product groups within the wider horticulture sector, as well as interviews with regulators (MPI and MBIE), Horticulture Export Authority, and Horticulture NZ.  

The driving force behind the review is the desire of the Summerfruit NZ Board to gather enough data (predominantly from levy payers) to enable them to design/refine the organisation so that it remains 'Fit for purpose in a changing world'. The review will provide input on governance, organisational capability requirements and future directions.

It is important to realise that, while the review focuses on the future and will hopefully move things usefully towards an organisation that is fit for purpose in a changing world, it is not a silver bullet. No review is ever going to get everything right to everyone’s satisfaction. 

Published 13 December 2019

Independent industry reviewer appointed

Alasdair MacLeod has been appointed by a Summerfruit NZ steering committee to carry out the summerfruit independent industry review.

A retired partner at Deloitte NZ, Alasdair has specialist skills in economic development, strategy facilitation and business growth. He also describes himself as ‘an (accidental) avocado grower‘. 


 He is a former civil engineer who has worked here and overseas in the electricity industry, the information technology sector, and in business consulting. While at Deloitte he led national strategy projects in the primary sector, and has since led the development of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy.

Alasdair chairs several boards, including the Hawke’s Bay branch of Export NZ. He is a former chair of Tomatoes NZ where he was heavily involved in developing their strategy, which had to encompass the aspirations of domestic growers as well as those more focused on export; and also had to navigate the challenges of widely differing aspirations and capacity between small family-owned operations and those that were part of larger corporate entities.

Also in the primary sector, Alasdair led the teams that developed the New Zealand Aquaculture Marketing Strategy, the New Zealand Horticulture Sector Strategy, and the New Zealand Red Meat Sector Strategy. 

Over the next few weeks the Summerfruit NZ steering committee will finalise the terms of reference for the summerfruit industry review, due to be completed in time for consideration by the Board at its April meeting.

During the commodity levy renewal consultation growers were invited to submit suggestions for consideration in the terms of reference. Two submissions were received and will be considered by the steering committee as it finalises the terms of reference.

Alasdair has outlined the broad steps he will be following:

  • Meet steering group and clarify scope.
  • Agree key people to be interviewed across government, sector organisations, growers, packers and exporters.
  • Design interview questions and discuss with steering group.
  • Conduct interviews, and collate feedback.
  • Develop draft report and discuss with steering group.
  • Present final report and recommendations.

The review findings will be presented at Summerfruit NZ’s annual conference in May 2020.

Prunings will have updates on the review, once the terms of reference are finalised and Alasdair gets underway.

Published 29 December 2019