Saturday, December 4

Flower growers are forced to dump truckloads of flowers into a container

Spring has arrived at the same time as Level 4, forcing Auckland flower growers to ditch months of their work.

Sisters Nicola and Jenna from Brite Bloom Flowers

Sisters Nicola and Jenna from Brite Bloom Flowers
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

At alert level 4, they can’t sell or distribute their products, but they can’t just stop their flowers growing.

They are desperately calling for the government to allow them to operate contactless delivery or to be allowed to sell to other essential companies.

“So this part here we have waited for months for this to get to this stage and we will start pulling this out on Friday this week.

“And in about two weeks everything will be ready and dusted, this is another batch of wasted flowers. It is useless.”

Sisters Nicola and Jenna showed Control the reality they had been facing since the confinement began more than three weeks ago.

They have been running Brite Blooms Flowers for twenty years together in Kumeū, mainly growing Gerberias, Dianthus Green Tricks, and Matthiolas.

Every few days they dump truckloads of crops into a compost pile, which is usually sent up for auction three times a week.

“More than 10,000 stems so far and next week there will be thousands more, so if we go more than four weeks, we will lose more than 20,000 stems.”

Financially they will never recover.

“We expect more than $ 50,000 [dollars], and that’s only if we get out of lockdown when you know that next week, however, will be more than that.

“There are many costs of those 50,000, only a small amount of that is really a profit. A large amount is all that you fertilize, the heating of the seed, the cost of growing it.”

It was taking its toll.

“We are really struggling to keep our morale high and keep coming here every day and dealing with this, it’s a real fight and it’s starting to take its toll on our families seeing that we have to deal with this, our kids are watching it and yeah , it’s hard “.

Along with dozens of other producers, they are calling for a change.

“If we could safely sell contactless, whether locally or to essential operators like supermarkets, fruit stands, you know we can never get it all back, but if we can sell some of our products, otherwise we would.” it has to be compensation for what we have lost. “

For smaller producers, like Hands in the Dirt, directed by Aila Morgan Guthrie at Ahuora, it’s a similar story.

In a video posted on social media yesterday, he showed a barn full of flowers that were going to go to waste.

“Here are all the flowers. Yes, these are here, we are throwing them away. They are no longer useful, you know we cannot sell them.

“We can’t give them away so they’re about to go to the compost pile and then we did another harvest today, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them at the moment.

“I don’t really have any space in the house. So I’d say they’ll just sit here for a week or so until they get kicked out.”

He generally relied on regulars and a few retail outlets, all based in Auckland, to buy his shares.

She said Control it would be easy to deliver them without contact, like other companies.

“Because a lot of us have our own delivery vehicles, so we can basically cut out the couriers and just go and deliver directly to our customers.

“For me, flowers are the food of the soul and it has been quite sad and the fact that many essential workers contacted me asking for flowers.

“They just want something to brighten their day or keep them optimistic and not be allowed to give them that when I have the flowers it has been quite annoying, it feels quite unfair.”

Now time was running out and space was running out.

And because growers have to plant ahead of time, their summer crops were also in jeopardy, with items like seed mixes not being available at tier 4.

The next few weeks will be decisive for producers awaiting a response from the government with an online petition gaining ground.

In a statement, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said it could not answer any specific questions related to individual products or retailers.

In a statement, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said it could not answer any specific questions related to individual products or retailers.

“It is up to individual companies to judge whether they meet the Alert Level 4 definition of a company or service.”

“These rules are intended to reduce the risk of further transmission in the community. Having too many businesses operating during Alert Level 4 increases the chances of transmission and workers move in bubbles outside their home, connect bubbles and increase the potential infection chain … We encourage companies to carefully consider whether they really need to be operating and what is the minimum level of operations required. “

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