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Flower growers lobby for change as product heads to compost heap

Flower growers are lobbying for change after again being unable to sell fresh cut flowers under Level 4 restrictions.

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Just like last year, they've been unable to sell fresh cut flowers in Alert Level 4 but growers are lobbying for a change and expect a response on Thursday. Source: 1 NEWS

Christy Ralphs runs a small flower business on Waiheke Island.

Unable to sell them under Level 4, she’s instead forced to dump them.

“We're losing - even at my scale - several thousand dollars a week, and a lot is money we've already had to pay out in production costs,” she told 1News.

Meanwhile, flowers from a large business in Auckland's west also don’t end up where they’re supposed to, either.

“I think that they're great promoters of mental health. It doesn't just represent dollars and cents - it represents a loss of wellbeing,” Van Lier Nurseries’ Joanne Hurley said.

Business isn’t blooming for flower growers south of Auckland, either, with flowers being cut and stacked in trolleys bound for the compost heap.

“Some of the biggest flower growers are located in level 4 so they are not able to sell their product either, which would upset the supply chain through the rest of the country,” Hurley explained.

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Despite the challenges, growers aren’t giving up.

“We've been asking for people to sign our online petition, and also people, customers - and anyone else who thinks that we should be allowed to sell flowers - to email the relevant ministers,” Ralphs said.

They believe they can make contactless deliveries under Alert Level 4.

“We have managed to have some conversation with the Government and they have said that they will give us an update by the end of day tomorrow,” she said.

On Wednesday night, the Ministry for Primary Industries told 1News it's offered to support growers in the process of seeking an exemption, to allow them to sell.