A top lineup of horticultural industry leaders has been lined-up for a Biosecurity Debate at next week's National Horticultural Field Day in Hastings.
Taking part will be Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman, Apples and Pears New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard, Hawke's Bay Regional Council chief executive James Palmer, Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers president Lesley Wilson, Plant and Food New Zealand research scientist Dr Jim Walker, Massey University business innovation and strategy Prof Hamish Gow, and Tuki Tuki MP and Opposition National Party spokesman for Horticulture Lawrence Yule.
The discussion will take place at an Industry Panel Lunch at the day-long BNZ Seminar Series during the annual exposition at Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana next Thursday.
Hawke's Bay A and P Society general manager Sally Jackson said: "It is guaranteed to start some hearty industry conversations over lunch."
"It is rare to see this group of organisations sharing the stage in a panel discussion," she said. "It is expected to generate a national industry audience. We expect tickets to sell very quickly."
The quality of the speakers for the series, and ticketed events the Industry Panel Lunch and the Power Breakfast, featuring Horticultural Field Day regular and BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander, highlight that the annual field day in Hastings is being seen as New Zealand's premier horticultural event.
Several were at the 50th National Agricultural Fieldays last week at Mystery Creek, reported to have attracted foot-traffic of well over 100,000.
"The National Horticultural Field Day event continues to grow each year," she said. "This year's impressive line-up of speakers is proof that the event is a platform to enable discussion among major industry groups."
She said the subject had been chosen because of the increased concerns about biosecurity issues in New Zealand and the risks to the economy caused by breaches.
New Zealand maintains a list of almost 15,000 unwanted plant, animal and marine pests and diseases, and several threats have arisen in the past year.
The seminar series, breakfast and lunch are the major indoor events on a day which will see extensive use of the showgrounds outside, for events including a big focus on careers in the horticultural industry, particularly the rapidly growing apples sector.
The field day starts at 8.30am next Thursday and ends about 4.30pm, with other events including an Education Expo, the Hawke's Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year competition, Hydralada and forklift competitions, and the Ravensdown Innovation Award, which promotes imaginative ideas for tools, implements, machinery and facilities.
For ticketing information and the full programme visit www.nationalhort.co.nz