Message from Richard Palmer

Message from the chief executive 

As you read this, you’re in the location where you’ll spend the next four weeks as New Zealand locks down to deal with Covid-19. These measures are unprecedented but necessary, and as our chairman has done, I implore you to act for all New Zealanders. This is not simply a government policy issue which allows for debate, work around the margins, and time to develop long-term cross party solutions, but a legal mandate requiring decisive action to deal with a deadly disease. 

Reflecting that severity at 12.21pm today a National State of Emergency was declared. Civil Defence Emergency Management director general Sarah Stuart-Black said there would be no tolerance for people who do not self isolate.  

As you know, food production is an essential industry and, given the many and varied situations across the primary sector, there are a plethora of queries and unanswered questions. We are acting with HortNZ and other sector organisations to work with MPI, MBIE and others, to find answers.

I encourage you to send me your queries so we can seek answers, but before you do I ask that you think about your specific case, within the context of the intent of the Level 4 response: Is my plan addressing the prevention of transmission? Is my work essential? Etc. There are some specific queries we’re seeking to answer including about ongoing work for staff who live on the orchard where they work, and whose work would prevent no increased risk of transmission. As we get answers we will circulate information, and put it on our website – if you have not been receiving our SMS alerts recently, please update your contact details with your mobile number by emailing us at

The Summerfruit NZ office has closed and our team are now all working from home. We are contactable, so please do seek us out as needed. Wishing you, your families, and your staff  a safe and secure four weeks whether at home, or continuing to provide fresh food to New Zealanders.