Better together

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Friday, July 24, 2015

I have a lot of respect for those who put in either their capital and time or both within the various small to large businesses here in the Bay.  Over the last week I’ve dropped by a number of businesses in the Papamoa area at one end of the scale and joined Zespri and growers for their annual Harvest Dinner.

I particularly appreciate the upfront focus and resilience around dealing with challenges that business owners have. For the past few years we have been through a global recession, now well behind us, and in kiwifruit we have worked through the Psa virus that almost destroyed the entire industry.

Let’s acknowledge the value of attitude in that turnaround. In those troubling kiwifruit times we saw excellent cooperation between the growers, pack houses, Zespri, Plant and Food and the National Government. The industry bounced back and this year we celebrated a full recovery thanks to a new variety of kiwifruit which are Psa-resistant and produce better yields.

We’ve seen our local economy surge this year thanks to a strong performance in the horticultural, construction, and the trade and service sector. A strong local economy helps build resilience for the country, especially when one sector struggles such as the dairy sector at the moment.

These experiences are a good lesson on how we can deal with challenges. You have to be real and open about the scale of the problem, be open to new ideas and encourage collaboration. After all, a problem shared with open ears is better than one owned in silence.