Doing our best in an uncertain Future

Gabrielle’s destruction is literally earth shattering.  Many of us have been significantly affected.  Recovery is no easy process.  Preparing for our uncertain climate impacted future will be even harder.

In 2020 Covid started the water shed.  We will not be returning to those pre-Covid days.  Our future is unknown.  As with the clean-up from Gabrielle, it is our communities and our associations that will hold us together and collectively enable us to face the future.

Horticulture and wine-grapes are not only an important economic driver for New Zealand, particularly in regional New Zealand, but are vital for the health and well-being of every New Zealander.  For many years there have been calls for New Zealand to develop and implement a food security programme and policy.  This has largely been ignored.  Gabrielle’s message is it can no longer be ignored.  The importance of our national infrastructure: roads, power, water, cell coverage, flood and storm protection – is all too evident.  The impact on each of us is all the more critical.  This is where we need our communities to share our problems and to jointly develop our solutions.

There is also a vital role for central and local Government, but not only with infrastructure, that role most importantly includes our mental well-being and our resilience for the future.  You can only say that Gabrielle is a wakeup call for everyone.  We need to listen.

Our industry organisations have been very active supporting everyone affected by Gabrielle.  It is in times of crisis, industry organisations come into their own.  As we chart our future, our industry organisations have an even more important role to ensure that we can collectively face the challenges.  It is now time to re-consider each organisations member mandate to establish what its members need to commercially succeed in the future and to deliver the tools to enable the best outcomes for the people who work in the sector.  The mechanics of this are to confirm what are the common goals, the shared values and principles and to tie them into a detailed programme of action meeting the environment’s, the economic, the social licence’s, human well-being and best practice employment outcomes demanded by the future. 

NZ Ethical Employers provides a vibrant and cohesive community for everyone in our sectors to collectively face the future and not only survive but succeed.  When it comes to human well-being, in the new world order growers and labour suppliers need to demonstrate their commitment to being good employers and achieve the highest global employment standards.  This is where NZ Ethical Employers comes into its own by adding value with leadership and with high independently audited standards for the membership.  Our goal is to provide the tools and mechanisms for members to hold themselves accountable and demonstrate the highest standards of employment practice.  The result being growers, retailers and export markets, and consumers will have a level of assurance about ethical labour in our horticulture and viticulture products.  For our NZ Ethical Employers this means that:

·         NZ Ethical Employer’s current and future members will be able to proactively identify and address impacts on workers, the community and the environment to ensure that their actions and inactions are not undermining Sustainable Development Goals.

·         Their businesses are able to systematically manage risks and demonstrate their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals in a measurable way.

·         As employers they will be able to embed human rights into their organisation and demonstrate ethical employment as part of standard day-to-day business practice.


To learn more about NZ Ethical Employers go to and come along to our conference 19 to 21 July at the Papamoa Surf Club.  Registrations for the conference will be opening in March through the NZ Ethical Employer website NZEE Events | NZ Ethical Employers


Mike Chapman

Chair New Zealand Ethical Employers Inc