FLORISTS in Wairarapa are supporting New Zealand rose growers, despite millions of cheap Indian roses being "dumped on the New Zealand market" this year.

New Zealand Flower Growers Association president David Blewden said this "flower dumping" was threatening the viability of growers, with more than six million Indian roses "flooding into New Zealand" in the past two years at a price of 24 cents a stem.

In contrast, New Zealand grown roses are typically $1.30 a rose stem in winter, and 50 cents in summer.

"Kiwi growers can't compete with those prices," he said.


"It's certainly detrimental to our industry and we are investigating whether we can take action under the Dumping and Countervailing Duties Act."

Florist Melissa Cullen, of La Fleure, in Masterton, said regardless of the threat to the New Zealand rose industry most florists tended to support local growers.

"When it comes to quality, we've found New Zealand-grown to be superior," she said.

"And we are more about quality than having an inferior product at a cheaper price.

"There are a few blooms we get every now and then when New Zealand supply is short that are imports, but more often than not our New Zealand growers and suppliers are up to the task."

She said that as a Wairarapa business La Fleure was glad to support growers, and that they understood the importance of buying New Zealand-grown product.

"The only import that we've tried is theColombian roses which are a nice quality - they're the only ones that we've found to be OK, but we still prefer to support New Zealand."

Selena Watt, from Watt's Blooming, agreed and said that Colombian roses were much bigger than New Zealand's but that they were also more expensive.


"I think probably price determines most things with people these days, especially with the way the economy is," she said.

Last year, more than 300,000 roses were imported from Colombia.

The business manager of Van Lier Nurseries, Joanne Hurley, said she felt New Zealand's rose industry was under threat.

"I started in the business eight years ago and slowly but surely rose growers are exiting the market," she said.