New Zealand: Key nursery operations recognised as essential services

Commercial plant nurseries in New Zealand are now recognised as essential businesses for the purposes of maintenance and protecting existing stock.

The Government announced on 25 March that that plant nurseries, including retail garden centres, will be able to register as essential businesses under the COVID-19 plan.

Under this arrangement they will be able to continue to undertake restricted nursery operations to keep plants alive during the shutdown period.

Register now
You are now able to register your nursery and submit your COVID-19 prevention plans and care for existing plant stocks while under Level 4 restrictions.

All businesses are required to register before 5pm this Friday 27 March.

This follows the announcement that nurseries producing plants for food or beverages (including grape vines and orchard trees & vegetable seedlings) are essential businesses and must register their COVID-19 prevention plans, and then continue operations.

Any nursery that does not have a COVID-19 prevention plan must close and stay closed for at least four weeks while Level 4 restrictions apply.

Nurseries can contact MPI at 0800 00 83 33 or for further details on registering or the registration process.

Safe nursery operations under Level 4 restrictions
NZ Plant Producers has produced a guide to safe nursery operations under Level 4 restrictions and this may be used to develop your COVID-19 prevention plan.

This allowance for nurseries has been provided to the industry on the basis of trust and in recognition of the importance of nursery stock to New Zealand in the recovery phase of COVID-19 and beyond.

NZPPI have argued that extending essential business status to all nurseries will protect existing stocks that will be required by many other industries once the recovery starts. Plants are used for forestry, protecting waterways, infrastructure, producing food, and many other benefits across New Zealand.

The current stocks would take years to replace, and a lot of the genetic material is simply irreplaceable.

NZPPI are not asking to remain in trade, or to continue shipping stock between nurseries. They simply want to keep the plants that are growing today growing through Level 4 restrictions and available to the community when the recovery starts.

Please advise NZPPI when you have registered - email

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