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Spray Use In The Kiwi Fruit Industry: How are we communicating with our community here in the bay of plenty

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Executive Summary

This report provides a review of how we are communicating with our communities (grower
communities and wider public) within the context of the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit industry, as a way
of starting to answer the question of whether we are adequately communicating, and if there are
areas we need to focus on for improvement.

Sources reviewed included material made available by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Zespri,
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, traditional news media, alternative news media, and
social media. There were also conversations held with several orchardists. The goal was to find
information that would come up when a member of the public searches, and this meant that not
all sources were the newest available.

The first sources that came up in most searches were from the regional council, followed by news
media and social media. Material from the kiwifruit industry tended to be further down the list
unless the search terms were modified with terms related to these (such as adding “Zespri” or
“NZKGI” to the search). While most sources were quite balanced, alternative media had a
tendency to publish more opinion pieces which were often negatively pointed towards spraying,
and social media was all negative with one or two exceptions.

How should we communicate with our communities going forward?

  • Grower education – Make sure growers understand what their responsibilities are, and
    what their neighbours’; expectations are. Ensure that they know how to use their products
    correctly.
  • Community education – Help the community understand what their rights are, so that they
    understand there are laws to help protect them. Inform them as to what types of products we
    are using, why we’re using them, how those products compare to their alternatives, and what
    steps we have taken as an industry to reduce the impact we have on our neighbours through
    spraying.

The report finds that the kiwifruit industry is in the process of developing a strong communication
programme regarding orchard spraying, but that the information we want to get in front of the
public isn’t necessarily being shared with them right now. The industry has made great
improvements to our spray practices in the last few years, and we need to make sure we promote
this to the community prior to any major spray application periods via newspapers, mailbox drops,
and community meetings, to counter the negativity before it becomes a major issue.

A time limitation while working on this report has led to detailed interviews with orchardists and the
public not being conducted. Some additional work needed is suggested in the “Next Steps” section
for anyone wanting to go into more depth on the issue of communication regarding spraying and
agrichemicals.

Spray Use In The Kiwi Fruit Industry: How are we communicating with our community here in the bay of plenty – Craig Ward