Helping the horticulture industry lift its game

A Tauranga woman is helping the local horticulture industry lift its game with a new organisation offering training and support.

Phillippa Wright is leading a not-for-profit, community-based co-operative called Pick BOP.

Wright, who has 15 years’ experience in the industry, said the idea was to give members access to training and support in areas like recruitment, labour laws and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) management.

Breaches to workers’ rights and confusion about compliance had the potential to affect horticulture’s reputation and bottom line, Wright said.

The co-operative will keep members up to date with the latest regulations and specialist knowledge so people can be confident they are on the right side of the law and are maintaining high standards.

“We’ve all heard stories of exploited workers and that’s a bad look for the industry and New Zealand exports,” Wright said.

“Pick BOP is a recruitment office with a commitment to best practice, offering high-quality services specific to the horticulture industry,” she said.

“International customers are also increasingly looking at a grower’s social responsibility. Making sure staff are well trained and safe are just as important for the bottom line as the product quality, so it’s win-win.”

Pick BOP serves a different role to industry advocacy groups, she said.

“What I saw missing was a collaborative solution.

“We want to make things transparent for members, by not accepting any non-compliant behavior.”

Pick BOP will open its doors in Te Puke on January 29.