Frequently asked questions

If you have any questions about Sensational Summerfruit that aren't included here,  please email Marie Dawkins


No - there are no plans to increase the levy.

  • The Sensational Summerfruit budget was developed based on our standard levy income expectations for the next seven years.
  • Unspent levies that have accumulated in the last two to three years will be used to underpin the first three years of the programme.

Summerfruit NZ cannot, and would not, seek to increase the levy without grower agreement. The levy can only be increased with a supporting vote at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.

In the 23 years since the first Commodity Levy order was promulgated, the levy rate has only changed twice.

  • 2005 – The cherry levy was increased from 0.75% to 1% to recover the costs incurred in cherry-focused market access projects. These included gaining access for cherries to Korea and securing fumigation free access to Japan for cherries.
  • 2011 – The cherry levy was reduced from 1% to 0.75% when the cost of market access projects had been recovered.

We will continue to deliver all of our key activities. Sensational Summerfruit is over and above this business as usual activity. The most noticeable change will be that most scientific research will be delivered through Sensational Summerfruit.

Additional staff will be employed to manage the new activity areas. These salaries are built into the Sensational Summerfruit budget. Our new offices have room for the extra staff.

In 2014 the Summerfruit NZ Board contracted independent economic consultancy New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) to interview a wide range of stakeholders throughout the country. The NZIER report said we need to do things differently if we are to meet the challenges and make the most of the opportunities currently facing our industry. Sensational Summerfruit is the plan that will enable us to do that.

We plan to set up a reference group, drawn from the wider industry, to be a sounding board for Sensational Summerfruit as the programme progresses.

Summerfruit NZ has consistently maximised grower levies by securing grants to offset the cost of many developments. Those grants have enabled us to leverage levies, on average more than $100,000 per year. This additional funding has been used for scientific and market research, the development of a postharvest treatment (Vapormate), market access development, harvest tools for the New Zealand market, to run grower workshops and to bring expert speakers to New Zealand.

Securing grants requires constant effort and funding sources are becoming more elusive. A grant of the size offered by PGP would provide secure funding for seven years and enable us to do long-term strategic projects that wouldn’t be possible under any other circumstances.

Summerfruit NZ’s proposal to the PGP Investment Advisory Panel (IAP) was accepted in November 2017 and work began on developing the business case immediately. A month later the government announced that it was replacing the PGP programme with Sustainable Food, Fibre and Futures. Sensational Summerfruit had already been accepted by the IAP, therefore it continues to be a PGP programme. Sensational Summerfruit would be one of the last projects to receive funding from a PGP grant.

Remember the saying 'you don’t know, what you don’t know'? And you won’t know unless you start asking some different questions. Other industries that asked different questions and came up with some new answers include the dairy industry and A2 milk, and the wool sector with its W3:Wool Unleashed project which looks at new uses and users for strong wool. Both of these initiatives have created significant new high value products. We’re suggesting that it’s time for the summerfruit industry to ask some different questions as well.

Sensational Summerfruit has been developed to provide returns to all growers. We truly believe that everyone will benefit. There will be parts of the project that some may think are not necessary or not part of the work Summerfruit NZ is expected to carry out. However, our industry is made up of many different business models from small family orchards through to large corporate grower, packer, marketers. Summerfruit NZ represents the full range of growers and most don’t have access, or the ability, to undertake projects of this breadth on their own. So smaller growers have just as much potential to take advantage of the outcomes.

A big advantage of the PGP is that it’s extremely flexible and very responsive to the needs of the industry. It is after all an investment by the government, they want the projects to be successful. The Programme Steering Group has the ability to shift investment away from negative outcomes and into positive projects. We know of one PGP programme where an entire objective has been dropped as a result of reassessing the outcomes.

Many projects have stop/go points built into them which ensures that outcomes are fully assessed before any further investment is made into the next steps. 

Sensational Summerfruit will be run by a Programme Steering Group (PSG) that must report regularly to the PGP Investment Advisory Panel.

The PSG will be made up of:

  • three Summerfruit NZ representatives (initially the chairman, chief executive and chairman of SEC)
  • two MPI representatives
  • an independent chairman who must be vetted and approved by MPI before being appointed. 

Summerfruit NZ will set up a grower advisor group to inform the PSG. 

According to the MPI website, the PGP has strong governance processes in place to give confidence and assurance in PGP investment, and ensure programmes have the best possible opportunity for success. Each PGP programme is governed by a Programme Steering Group, which includes at least two MPI representatives, and most have an independent chairperson. Reporting, independent reviews and other measures also contribute to strong governance for PGP programmes and the PGP as a whole.