Fresh veggies, a holiday mystery

As many will know, I take a keen interest in who deals in fresh market produce around the city.

Years ago, a tiny group of us set up Otago Farmers Market at Dunedin Railway Station (opened March 2003) to ensure local market gardeners and food producers had at least a fighting chance to survive against the duopoly supermarkets trucking in old (no longer fresh) fruit and vegetables from the North Island; and to provide a market alternative to export given the high compliance costs besetting small orchards.

Otago Farmers Market logo download(1)We aimed to get the city’s ‘urbanistas’ to talk to Otago’s rural folk by adopting a Saturday market ritual – prior to opening we researched our business model to death (given the exact nature of Dunedin food retailing and the customer base, and the availability of suitable vendors) in the attempt to keep overheads down so small local producers could make the real profits. And that is what happened.

The farmers market has spawned new businesses and new employment. We always envisioned the market as a business incubator. We also hoped our hard work – in just a couple of years it became a multimillion dollar enterprise (for the vendors) – would eventually spur other small independent farmers markets to set up in the region to give vendors more chances of selling – and so they have, with varying degrees of success and failure.

While we know Otago Farmers Market has the numbers, the solid customer base at Dunedin – there is absolutely no room for organiser complacency. Some of that, I believe, and a lack of strategic business thinking, timing and network connections on the part of the organisers was responsible for the failure of the trial market venue in South Dunedin. They may have misread the location as much as the trading climate, more diligence was required.

At the Railway Station we saw every trick in the book committed by vendors (not the majority of vendors, I note) to earn cash by means not covered in the vendor contract they sign. That is the nature of a cash economy, the cowboys and cowgirls try it on. Behind scenes, we met mid-week with our accountant to look over business and enforce contracts, measuring these against what happened on site on Saturdays – we attended all Saturday markets checking the ‘pump’ as well as greeting customers at the gate, year in year out, rain hail or shine. Were we over-possessive? – No. We were learning the whole dynamic, firming systems for the avoidance of kinks. A farmers market will never be perfect, but it has to try!

Those who now run Otago Farmers Market continue to be vigilant – the need to focus on quality control was never more relevant – this is what we the initiators and founding trustees set great store by (to use a phrase), we rigorously policed things as the market evolved. When we each handed over to new management on pursuit of other projects about town we expected our long-view objectives to be followed and maintained as best business practice.

I called into Veggie Boys in Albany Street before Christmas, it’s near where I live, fresh flowers posed at the door for sale is a bonanza for the apartment dweller. The ‘boys’ Barry Gazeley and Marty Hay opened a store in Cumberland St in late 2011; their Albany St store opened in July 2012. They claim they’re meeting a gap in the market for locally grown produce (Otago Southland). Good on them I thought, after reading this profile: Dream comes true for Veggie Boys (ODT 26.4.12).

Google tells me Anderson & Co Resource Management has worked on planning matters for Veggie Boys.

After much delay I finally got out to Wal’s Plant Land at Mosgiel, run by Clive Wallis, to check into the new Topiary Cafe there. We’ve been great fans of Richard and Michelle Denhardt’s last venture, ‘No. 8 Cafe w Herbs’ at Outram (now closed); the two of us were keen to sample their food and coffee, again.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours at Wal’s, and had a good look around the site – it’s a really nice place to visit. There were couples and families about. We were surprised to see a new Veggie Boys outlet. Their third outlet? They must be doing well. We made some plant purchases, and left feeling very pleased with ourselves.

When we got back to town I was a bit curious. Towards the end of last year I was in and out of DCC’s online consents records following progress on Outram subdivisions and what not, I hadn’t noticed an application for Veggie Boys (109 Bush Road). Anything commercial in the rural zone sparks my interest, being a country girl averse to life-stylers carving up the countryside. Bane of the earth!

Anyway, I checked non-notified decisions, public notices and notified decisions. I might’ve missed something, I couldn’t find a resource consent for Veggie Boys to trade from Wal’s site.

I’m mystified – when I think about it, given all the activities going on at Wal’s, and what I can’t see on the council record, online at least, there appears to be more to look into consents-wise. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed. Maybe council staff have overlooked loading up the website. I’ll have to check the paperwork at City Planning when I get time.

Nurseryman turns dreams into reality (ODT 3.11.12)
Veggie Boys profile picture

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Fun, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning

62 responses to “Fresh veggies, a holiday mystery

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Something that annoyed me was when the stall-holders were all corralled into same-stock groups. all the plant sellers together, cooks and bakers together. What annoyed me even more than losing the sense of adventure when they were all mingled up, plants next to bread next to fruit, was that longest-established stall holders were put up in the most exposed sites at the car-park end of the station platform. It looked like management policy had become “we’ve hooked you, you’re steady and loyal so now we can disrespect you in favour of newcomers.”
    Things may have changed, I haven’t been there for months. I stopped enjoying it and the unfairness to stall-holders I’d come to know and like really annoyed me.

    • Elizabeth

      I haven’t been for ages and ages. Stalwarts have been complaining to me. Planning to be there this Saturday for critique purposes; my feedback will go direct to ‘the Manager’ and the OFMT chairman. If they’re reading this they can take it as fair warning!

  2. Tomo

    Interesting from what you say Elizabeth, that the OFM was set up to ensure local market gardeners and food producers had a fighting chance, and I note from the original trust deed that the main objective was to establish a fresh fruit produce market (including ancillary crafts and other activities ) as an ongoing event.
    It would appear since your days of involvement that things has changed quite dramatically. As of the 4/06/09 there appears to have been a major change to the trust deed, and it appears that the main objective of the OFM trust deed “To establish a fresh produce market etc, has been completely deleted. It would appear that new Trustees have captured the OFM and set it on a course of self interest. With grants from Pokie trusts.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes the Charities Commission (legislative change) brought about the need for change to the trust deed since the market was a commercial activity, with charitable purpose. I’ve got little problem with that.

      I have a problem in general with vendors having a direct financial interest in the market and taking on trustee roles; however, from the outset we sought Ray Goddard’s input as a market gardener and president of the local branch of the NZ Growers Association. After some time we approached Ray to become a trustee due to his fine assistance and championship of the market – Ray was hands off in day-to-day management matters.

      With the Otago Farmers Market Trust having put in place a general manager position I can only presume major changes on the market floor have been directed by that manager, in consultation with the Trust (the employer). Reports lately from customers that have attended since Day 1 are on the whole relatively positive. The market in the early years is not the same place it was, the market has grown from 23 vendors on site to 70 vendors – with that the crush of more visitors attending.

      I’ll critique the retail experience as a walk-through customer/visitor this Saturday.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Hmmmm……… looks like Veggie Boys may have taken over that important role. I was rapt to see fruit that came from an orchard I’d worked on many years ago, at Veggie Boys last season.

    Another observation – looks like “Pokie trusts” is a warning meaning “don’t trust ’em”, be wary of who’s benefiting most, it’s probably not the public.

  4. Tracey

    I too had a visit out to Wal’s, and boy what a good setup. It appears to be a stand alone village. It has a restaurant, Vegie Boys, and they could be called a supermarket with the variety that they have. I would be suspect of the grade of some of the fruit and veg that they are selling. There is quite a little bit of industrial activity, they sell coal, must have a mine on site? and I see a couple of houses there too. Is this a new idea that the council is allowing, a sort of a satellite village out in the rural area. Sounds a good idea. We may see some more pop up, it will take the pressure off council having to provide all the amenities, with the developers having to pick up the tabs instead of the ratepayers. I didn’t see any advertised hearing for all the activity that is going on there. Did I miss it ?

    • Elizabeth

      Ah, thanks Tracey. So I wasn’t imagining it.
      Sounds like runaway planning happening at City Planning (DCC). More than that, it would be expensive to rectify.

      Because it’s a resource consent matter, it will come under the purview of council officer Alan Worthington (Resource Consents Manager).

      No idea what’s happened at City Planning to justify slippage under the radar in the Rural Zone.

      I’m fresh to this one with few facts at my disposal – will go ahunting.

      There’s a family connection between the Wallis’s and Syd Brown, cousins I think.

      At first glance I’d say it’s one for DCC chief executive Paul Orders to deliberate, I doubt if he’s aware of it.

      • Elizabeth

        I’ve just been told Veggie Boys is selling export reject produce (20 cents per kilo payable to the growers), and tomatoes are sourced from a crop in Christchurch area. More information to come. That’s no different to New World fresh produce department, really.

  5. Jacks Bro

    At least New World have quality standards that growers have to meet. Can’t say the same for Veggie Boys or the OFM you take pot luck at those two. What the public don’t know about they won’t care about.

    • Elizabeth

      Locally grown vegetable produce featuring at New World I’ve never had a problem with.

      Fruit is hit or miss, condition-wise, whether local, Christchurch or North Island.

      The first lines of Central Otago stone fruit are generally tempting (except cherries at $24.95 a kilo with little flesh) until suddenly they’re replaced by lesser quality specimens at the same price and seldom capable of ripening properly by usual means. Don’t mention the unsweet strawberries picked half green, all season.

      Other berry fruits fare much better.

      The age (after picking) of out-of-region fruit and vegetables before they make it to supermarket shelves is sometimes a week owing to the time it takes to get to the major distribution warehouses at Christchurch, sits there, before being redistributed to supermarkets.

      I generally buy on in-season quality not price, wherever I’m shopping.

  6. Tracey

    Come on Elizabeth, don’t spoil things. This Wal’s thing has got to be good for the local community. Why can’t a man do what a man wants to do on his own property without all this red tape. We would never have got the stadium built if the proper process was followed. It’s called progress. Build a bridge and get over it.

    • Elizabeth

      Tracey, I thought all pro-stadia were on holiday except for St Farry doing creditor mop-up after causing Otago Festival of the Arts to collapse in a heap for the first time in its history. Probably Stuart’s fault for not keeping his eye on the ball given he’s spread incredibly thin these days. It’s not like Farry has any clues about running ledgers and staying in budget.

      Nope, the place is pretty but the signs aren’t good at Wal’s. Not letting DCC or City Planning away with crap, or favouritism to ‘friends’ through lack of adherence to zoning rules and due process – that department needs a hurricane through it. It’s called strong weeding out.

  7. Tracey

    Where would Dunedin be without the movers and shakers who bring us economic growth and jobs with the likes of Veggie Boys, Wal’s and the stadium. I can hear the cry now if we never had them. “The last one to leave Dunedin, please turn out the lights.”

  8. Russell Garbutt

    The stadium – jobs? Tracey, a simple request – supply the hard data to support your claims. While you are about it, supply the number of jobs that would have been created if the DCC had spent $400m on something like innovation instead of a massive toy for your GOBs. I’ll be waiting with anticipation.

  9. Tracey

    Russell. The man that cuts the grass, the man that cleans the roof and of course the person that runs this blog site. All jobs that wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the stadium, and that’s just for starters

  10. Mike

    The man who cuts the grass used to work ar Carisbrook, the roof is made of magic self cleaning plastic Farry promised us so, we shouldn’t need to pay anyone, and of course no one gets paid to run this site. ….

    The stadium has not resulted in a net inflow of wealth to Dunedin, the Aussie banks are doing well from it though

    • Elizabeth

      Paul and I had an unforeseeable run of luck – thanks to Novopay we’re posting from Cayman Islands.

      • Elizabeth

        Dunedin City Council – Non-notified Decision

        70 Riccarton Road West Mosgiel; 58 Ayr Street Mosgiel (LUC-2011-165)

        This consent was an application to/for develop a recreation and leisure park at the existing Wallis’s Nursery retail site at 70 Riccarton Road West Mosgiel; 58 Ayr Street Mosgiel.

        This was considered by the Council’s Senior Planner (Consents) on 9 August 2011.

  11. Tomo

    Elizabeth. Why was it non-notified, was it a complying or non-complying activity in the rural zone, and when did Veggie Boys become part of a leisure park activity. Something’s not right there.

    • Elizabeth

      Tomo, there’s only a handful of people at DCC that know the answers to this – Alan Worthington, manager of resource consents, in the first instance. I doubt there’s any good explanation available under the district plan. The council appears to have exercised its discretion, I’ll email Alan for copy of the letter granting consent.

      I’m assuming Don Anderson provided resource management advice to Veggie Boys, given the Anderson & Co website mentions them as a client, for their Albany St shop.

      Last night I couldn’t find Veggie Boys on the NZ Companies register, I’ll do advanced search today.

      • Elizabeth

        Following my email to Alan Worthington, first floor planning (DCC) has messaged to say a new application on behalf of Veggie Boys will be publicly notified shortly. At their invitation I’ll call Planning for more information when i can later today, or first thing in the morning.

        • Elizabeth

          Phil Marshall from City Planning has phoned with background on the consenting issue, which has complexities that if left unchecked would undermine the integrity of the district plan. He’ll send me some publicly available documents on the consenting history for Wallis’s property. We had discussion worth having. Thanks, Ross and Phil.

  12. Larry

    Hello Elizabeth, I agree with you. The Trust changed the objectives and they are in control of the vendors. The Otago farmers market can run without the Trust but can’t run without the vendors.
    The Otago farmers market was better in the past but the Trust changed and now they have new people on the Trust.
    I don’t think most of the Trust members should be vendors.
    I think the Trust should give an opportunity for other organisations from the community to run the Otago farmers market and make money for their own Trust.
    A lot vendors left because of how the Trust runs the market. They are control freaks.
    Yes the South Dunedin market failed because they didn’t prepare properly and they did not choose the right position and had no strategic plan.
    The Otago Farmers Market Trust was better with the previous chairperson who made the Trust successful financially. Now the Trust doesn’t have any money and they can’t put any advertising about the market. The previous General Manager left and they recently appointed a new General Manager, who has survived for just two months into his job and now he is quitting. Who can survive with this job?

    • Elizabeth

      Larry, I’m on site this weekend ‘mystery shopper’ style.

      [I decided to edit my comment down here – I took a broader view and have consulted several around town, will use the Saturday experience to measure.]

  13. Jacks Bro

    I am afraid you may be too late Elizabeth. It would appear that the present lot of Trustees and their self appointed management committee now have total control and there would be no framework in the trust deed to move them on. It is interesting to see who initiated the South Dunedin Market, and for who’s benefit.
    It all came crashing down. And who picked up the tab for the failure. No not them or the vendors who thought they could benefit from by rushing in to line their pockets, but it came back to the railway station vendors whether they went to south Dunedin or not. They were hit with extra site fees back at the station site, in a like it or lump attitude from the trust. The trust’s financial problems created by themselves are now having to be met by vendors. Not a bad system if you can get others to pay for incompetence.

    • Elizabeth

      Jacks Bro – the Otago Farmers Market has always had control of the vendors for successful operation of market activity on site, from day 1. Nothing new there, that is underlined by the vendor contract. Think of it like a shopping mall. Simple. On balance I have done checking of facts in the last 48 hours – I have to say some barrow-pushing by a particular handful of vendors is occurring. I sometimes feel the need to flush things out. Opinions, motives and personal agendas are interesting things.

      My message to that very small number of disaffected vendors who are still very happy to make cash sales at OFM, some of whom have always been vocal, is that your different points of view go WAY beyond making constructive suggestions for the wellbeing of the farmers market collective.

      Suggest you read the vendor contract again, and the particular clause that deals to (in effect) bringing the market into disrepute.

      If you don’t like being at OFM, and you can stand to lose the cash, you can shut up shop.

      If on the other hand you treat the market as a cheap unchecked way to make thousands of dollars of your own profits per year (as many do, ka-ching) for very little on-site cost (the market site fees which are sheer PEANUTS compared), and you think it’s absolutely OK to ride on the backs of market volunteers (who of course go without pay) – then you have another think coming.

      Paying staff to manage the site and administrate the business operation is a fair and reasonable thing to do. I believe the OFM’s accountants would agree with that. It’s my understanding the market per se is not in hock. Prove to me it is?

      Prove to yourselves that you’re a positive part of the OFM team and its operation, that you bear no ill will and have no axe to grind. Not while you’re collecting the cash and doing very well, thank you. Fair play.

      If you’re experiencing real problems, you know to raise matters in a coherent and proper fashion with those you contract to. If between the parties you’re unable to reach workable solutions, there are options for address. That is the nature of contracts. “Fair and reasonable.”

      Tweaking and making sure the market is delivering is about supporting everyone’s livelihood, not just your own, through the provision of customer choice. You know that. The OFM may not be perfect but it doesn’t deserve the utter damnation.

      You have the right to entertain a contrary view. You may find what I’m saying extremely disappointing, or completely wrong and ill-advised. Saturday.

      *Note the figures cited by Sue aren’t current, if only to make her point.

  14. Sue

    Just checked their Annual Returns for 2010 /2011.
    Income: $163,627.00
    Expenditure: Salaries & Wages: $83,382.00

  15. Jacks Bro

    Quite right Elizabeth. If vendors have problems, then raise them with the management. Sounds good. Some vendors have tried this in the past, but have been meet with threats of lawyers, so vendors soon pull their heads in (it’s called consultation) then they find out without any consultation (discussion with management) that they are to have financial penalties applied. Rather difficult if you are a vendor whose income is from the market, when the threat of loss of income is used against you rather than meet and talk about it.

  16. Todd

    I was at Otago farmer market and I left because the trust causes a lot problem for me. I heard the pervious General Manager left because he fail the South Dunedin market but he didn’t fail only by himself but the Chairperson (he is a vendor) fail and the trust too and he should resign as a chairperson from the Otago farmer market trust.
    The Otago farmer market started to shrink and lot space at the market at the moment because most of the vendor not happy with the trust.
    I am at Sunday Market and the Rotary Club run Sunday market at the stadium which much better environment.
    The Dunedin Rotary Club knows how to run business and they are volunteer and they walk everywhere on Sunday to support the vendors.
    We should have only one market run by Dunedin Rotary club and they do good job for Dunedin Community.
    The Otago farmer market Trust the only care collect money from the vendors.
    I used to freeze in winter on Saturday market but the Sunday market has water electricity everything the vendor need and the volunteer care for the vendors.
    I am glad we have another market to give chance for other people in the community to sale their product at the market.

    • Elizabeth

      Todd, you’re posting at what’s generally considered a website that questions council spending of ratepayer money on the stadium build and its operation (DVML is losing $20 MILLION pa and is forecast to do this for the next three years, at least) – and deplores the consolidating council debt thought to be well in excess of $600 MILLION – thus I doubt there’s much energy here for ducking down to the stadium market on Sundays.

      I for one will not attend anything held at the stadium, for any reason. On principle.
      Friends and colleagues feel the same way.

      I hope Rotary is paying full commercial venue hire rates to run their market. That’s all I care about – that ratepayers aren’t providing another subsidy…. oh wait, anything DVML does (not to mention DVL’s annual losses)(or DCHL’s) is not going to solve that operational loss – so yeah, the stadium market is subsidised for as long as the stadium market continues to function in the loss making venue. Oh dear.

      Charity starts at home – does Rotary understand that, with Dunedin’s (government funded) aging and student beneficiary populations, or are its middle-aged professional members trying to bulk up their Linkedin (charitable) profiles ready to bugger off to Australia, following the dollars the stadium is already sending to Aussie banks.

  17. Anonymous

    There seems to be an increase of the incompetent management types – those who advocate cutting productive staff and then hiring like-minded suck-ups whose talents seem limited to delegation and spouting motivation cliches – who do just that: Appear to spend an exorbitant amount of time plumping up their LinkedIn profiles. Fluffy job titles and ridiculously funny profiles should be a red flag to a business.

    As you walk along this board, imagine yourself high up, crossing a wide cavernous space on a swinging bridge between one cliff edge and another…

    You’ve only got to look at what is happening at Dunedin City Council and in some ways the Otago Regional Council to see what I mean. There’s a real infestation of them climbing out of that pit of corruption.

    Look at my new phone. How small is yours?

    Sorry. It’s just seems like people don’t get employed to do real work anymore.

    My title’s longer than your title.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous, it’s certainly like that. ‘Management’ in NZ is extremely badly trained if at all in the majority of cases. I still like the people who get to management level by their start sweeping the factory floor and learning up the tiers (not too fast). Not too many factories left.

      • Elizabeth

        [onsite impressions by phone]

        Otago Farmers Market really pleasant this morning at 9am, weather great (warm, no wind), shoppers relaxed, coffee excellent, fresh raspberries from Waimate (Donald in good form, with OFM since 2003), excellent chat with long time site manager Lesley Cox. Prior to students returning the market has homely ambiance; talked to couples visiting from out of town, checked out some vendors’ opinions of the newish market set up at Riccarton House in Christchurch as well as the stadium craft market. Interesting. Overall impression at OFM is steady trading, with people continuing to meet regularly at ‘the village square’ as of old – all as I would expect in the New Year holiday period. Suggested to Lesley the possibility of erecting a temporary screen to mask a diesel generator located outside the market near a coffee cart – idea came from two women beside me at a table, both visiting for the first time. Suggestion positively received :)
        Put my name forward for newsletter and casual volunteering again if needed. Officer from DCC Economic Development casually volunteers at the market, one of the best volunteers I hear, yay. General Manager of OFM, Svend Tolson served his last market, last Saturday – he was offered a fulltime lecturing position at Hospitality, Otago Polytechnic. Exciting for Svend. The GM position is open presently, Lesley is providing cover meantime. Market stalwart Barbara Phillipps, immediate past chair of the OFM Trust, has a vastly accurate grasp of the market and its health. I saw and heard nothing of concern – vendors businesslike and getting on with their job. Friendly and knowledgeable, reasonable attention to detail. Everyone puts in a big effort, in their own way, to prepare for each Saturday market. The Otago Farmers Market will be ten years old in March. No mean feat from all the people concerned. Thanks Otago.

  18. amanda

    Wake up Todd, the sunday market is just so that Farry and his mates who profess to be ‘businessmen’ can puff up their collective chests and continue to call themselves ‘businessmen’ and say that the stadium is working (nevermind that it is losing money hand over fist). Anything to make it appear that the stadium is anything but a fiscally inept entity and thus saving face for Farry and mates on council; Crs Hudson, Weatherall, Noone, Acklins and co all want to be returned to council this year and they really really want us all to forget their hand in the stadium debacle. Their hand in the stadium is very hush hush. Fiscally useless politicians generally do not get re elected to office.

  19. Anonymous

    All of the remaining Stadium Councillors and now some of the Lesser Dunedin are driven by fear of their deeds being revealed. They must remain around the council table to protect that and ensure like-minded individuals hold seats of power within the council companies. The GOBs understand this parasitic arrangement and abuse it to their full advantage. But we’re going to get rid of a few more of them this election Amanda.

    Even Allied Press and the GOBs seem unsure of their front man if their political maneuverings in the Oddity are anything to go by.

  20. amanda

    Good though that the ODT told us its agenda in the editorial a few days ago. Any naughty politicians who dare to challenge the status quo will be interpreted by the ODT as creating ‘division’. And this is BAD according to the ODT. Bad for whom? Not Dunedin voters, that’s for sure, only bad for Hudson, Brown, Acklin and mates who hide behind the basic decency (if gormlessness) of the other councillors. Divide and conquer is the only way to go; the stadium nitwits need to be named, held accountable and brought out into the light. The media aren’t going to do it and you sure as anything won’t hear Hudson and mates reminding any voters of their stadium voting record.

  21. amanda

    Ha. Not that the agenda of the ODT was a mystery. But good to have it in black and white. Anything is cool as far as they are concerned, a city destroyed by the fiscally useless yet entitled? no problem, but division? oh lordy, unspeakable. Division in politics? According to the ODT this is a terrible, terrible thing.

  22. Elizabeth

    Urban green space. Simple holiday surprise and a real treat: a french accordionist teamed up with an oboist at Knox Garden in the late afternoon Friday sun. A little piece of France for the apartment dweller and other individuals stopping by to listen, and in my case accompaniment to sorting email and tweets by phone. Oboe now replaced by light trumpet. Better and better. Some swap to acoustic guitar and percussion. A rounding performance!

  23. Last week City Planning emailed copies of consents relating to Wal’s Plant and Fun Land at Mosgiel. At first glance it appears the full scale of the business isn’t covered under existing consents and rules for the Rural Zone. A legal opinion obtained by the council advises, I’m told, that enforcement action shouldn’t (paraphrasing) be undertaken while a consenting process is in play (Veggie Boys’ application to be notified). The legal opinion isn’t available in public domain – that can be tested through the LGOIMA, as done previously in relation to other council matters.

    • City Planning emailed last week (Thursday, 7 February 2013 5:18 p.m.) alerting me to a forthcoming public notice.

      Veggie Boys Ltd (LUC-2012-563 Resource Consent Application) – closes 08/03/2013

      The email said:

      LUC-2012-563 – Public Notice


      I note for your information that the resource consent application for Veggie Boys is being publicly notified in the ODT this Saturday. I attach a copy of the public notice for your reference. I note that this application from the operator of Veggie Boys seeks retrospective consent for the existing activity and is not for further expansion of the retailing activity.

      Please note that ever since it opened, Veggie Boys at Mosgiel has been trading illegally – meaning, trading in the Rural Zone without resource consent. And yet, Dunedin City Council has ‘innocently’ allowed this to happen since it was informed of the problem. The application is ‘retrospective’. What happens if the application is declined? Or are we to assume DCC is looking kindly on VB and Mr Wallis? Why isn’t the shop (read ‘general store’…) shut in the interim?

      Of course, the Veggie Boys consenting process DOES NOT cover the extent of commercial retailing that Mr Wallis is engaged in at Wallis Nurseries, and Wal’s Plant and Fun Land, which may be said to (as a whole) exceed existing conditions of consent that apply to Mr Wallis’s property holding.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    I couldn’t give a damn – except that other people get every conceivable thread of red tape used on them until they are tied up so tight they can’t move in any direction. Easy for one, easy for all – or the opposite. Fairness is important in decent society. I wish the DCC saw it that way.

  25. Whippet

    Rumour has it that once consent is issued a major supermarket chain may buy them out. Then watch that space.

    • Countdown are set to replace in Mosgiel. Who else is with an eye to the dollar? (supermarkets as BANKS; runaway subdivisions on the Taieri; love WANAKA and DIPPIEville)

      Two words: RURAL ZONE. Or three: HIGH CLASS SOILS

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    High class soils yeah, not when it’s a potential subdivision. Go Syd!* Great soil for putting concrete over. Pave paradise and put in a 4-car garage.
    *Request, not acclamation.

  27. Hype O'Thermia

    Food basket, DUNEDIN’s? Didn’t you know it’s more efficient to have forward supply contracts for huge quantities, delivered to the supermarket chain’s distribution centre then trucked back down and up and westwards, including back where it came from?

  28. Whippet

    Didn’t you know Veggie Boys will be making good use of the Taieri High Class soils, by displaying produce grown from outside Dunedin. What a kick in the guts for our local growers, when a resource consent is applied for on high class soils to bring in produce from outside the province, when it could all be grown right here.
    Quality at Veggie Boys? Well ya gets what ya pay for.

  29. From the pasty-faced [‘brown’-following] Commissioner David Benson Pope (chair), and councillors Andrew Noone and Paul Hudson – contrary to the Council Planner’s recommendation which was to decline the application:


    DCC has granted consent to a non-complying activity being the authorisation of a Veggie Boys retail outlet and associated signage at 58 Ayr Street, Mosgiel – subject to conditions.

    • The decision suggests the politicians at DCC don’t want an investigation into Wallis’s chain of non-notified resource consents granted by DCC previously (nudge nudge wink wink) that have allowed Veggie Boys Ltd to float their application (while trading illegally) and have it granted – while [joke], VB sells 2-litre tubs of Southland-made icecream (not listed)!

      [DCC, selling wigwams for the goose’s bridle – or maybe the hearings committee got a free train ride at their site visit]

      It would be interesting to read the legal opinion DCC received on Veggie Boys, it’s been well buried under (nitrogen-fixing) red carpet.

      Anyway, if you want fresh fruit and vegetables (meeting quality standards) you go to your supermarket or local growers of good repute. You don’t get these in days’ old plastic at Veggie Boys – via long-haul trucking and an already tired/wilting market process at Christchurch.

      Avoid food miles. Buy local and buy in season.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Ummmmm……….. supermarket? Avoids “long-haul trucking and an already tired/wilting market process at Christchurch”?
    Remember why market gardening around Dunedin took such a hit, and why the Farmers Market was such a boon to producers and shoppers?
    Remember how the supermarket chains changed to forward-contract suppliers locking out smaller producers and producers of smaller quantities of non-“standard” varieties of fruit and veges?

    Not saying Vege Boys are faultless at all. But if I can buy a bag of 6 good, mostly red, peppers for $3.99 compared with singly at absurd prices in supermarkets I’m consulting my wallet ahead of the District Plan. After all it’s my wallet and it has to stretch resources over rates, electricity and all my other living expenses. Nor am I going to drive all over the province to shop at individual roadside stores, and last time I went to the Farmers Market there were lovely goods on sale but you have to be early for bargains (if any) and a lot of the goods are shop-price so no advantage for a person on a tight budget.

    I agree re process, especially the innumerable examples where one person/company gets an easy peasy ride and others find copious red tape conceals a tangle of barbed wire. The lack of fairness gets to my Anger Node. The strip by strip sacrifice of quality horticultural land burns me, but the Vege Boys at least offer something of ongoing use to more locals than do the innumerable inroads for the benefit of developers and “lifestylers” and people who MUST live in resource-hungry McMansions.

    • (speaking of just one farmers market since there are more than one seasonally) At Otago Farmers Market vendors set the prices.


      New Zealand GAP is a quality assurance programme that provides a traceable, accountable system from crop to customer for the production of fruit, vegetables, olives and flowers. It ensures best practices are in place for the production, packaging and distribution of New Zealand fresh produce, and reduces the risk of health, safety and environmental issues – so customers can buy with confidence.


      Horticulture New Zealand held a referendum in 2006 asking growers to vote on a new compulsory levy affecting all fruit and vegetables. Growers voted “YES” to the levy, and it came into effect on 23 July 2007. The new levy replaces those previously collected by The New Zealand Vegetable and Potato Growers’ Federation (Vegfed) and the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation (NZFF). The first year of the new levy is 2013–14.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    I know.

  32. Brian Miller

    You can criticize supermarkets all you like, but one thing that they have in common is that they have quality standards for growers to meet. These standards are similar to the New Zealand GAP that you mention Elizabeth. Many if not all require growers to be part of the New Zealand GAP program, which include audits.

    These audits include such things as: All growers’ weighing equipment is checked out annually to make sure you get the weight that you pay for. Full records of all sprays, how and when they are used to make sure that all withholding periods are complied with, and only approved sprays are used. A NZ GAP grower can expect that his product without his knowledge, can be tested to see if their product meets all the requirements of NZ GAP for such things as spray residues. Even employment conditions are audited, to ensure that all health and safety legislation is meet.

    This is just a few of the requirements of NZ GAP. All this adds to the growers costs, but one thing the public are assured of is that the product they buy that is grown by a NZ GAP registered grower, is grown to the highest standards, and is safe to eat. Just because an apple is shiny or a lettuce looks pretty, and the produce you buy is cheap. Gives you no guarantee that it is safe.

    Next time you are in a farmers market or a Veggie Boys shop, ask those who are responsible for running them. What quality standards do they require from the growers to ensure that their products are safe to consume. At farmers markets where the growers sell their products direct to you, why not ask the growers if they are part of the New Zealand GAP program or have a similar quality assurance program, and if not why not.

    Remember a New Zealand GAP grower has to meet all the requirements to produce a safe product. Is it worth the risk, buying from growers or retailers that do not have a quality assurance program? The choice is yours. Our company Aquarius Gardens, is a family run company on the Taieri. We are proud to be part of the New Zealand GAP program. number 49, and were the first hydroponic Lettuce growers in NZ to register with the New Zealand GAP program.

    • Yep New Zealand food safety – that’s resilience!

      Unlike rat meat and ‘other’ marketed as lamb and beef to unsuspecting citizens in another news story today.

  33. Brian Miller

    There are various reasons why you should buy your fresh produce from an approved grower, like a NZ GAP approved grower.
    Let me give you an example: There is an insecticide called Confidor. Some would consider it to be a real nasty. (Google it and make up your own mind.)
    The NZ Novachem agrichemical manual that is a requirement for all NZ GAP approved growers, states that: ‘This product must be under the control of an approved handler during use.’
    An approved handler is someone who has passed the appropriate course, and has obtained their certificate. This then allows them to purchase this insecticide. All this is a requirement of the NZ GAP approved grower program.
    All spraying times, withholding periods and picking dates of the sprayed product must be recorded, and available for audit.
    Unfortunately, the grower who has no quality assurance program, and doesn’t have a requirement to keep records of what they use or do. Can go into most hardware stores and buy Confidor off the shelf, like any member of public. With no restrictions.
    The choice is yours. You can feed yourself and your family with a product that is grown by growers who care. Like NZ GAP approved growers, or the others. The choice is yours.
    Don’t be afraid to ask next time you buy from a grower or a fruit and veg retailer, if all the products they grow or retail are grown under an approved quality assurance program, and if not why not ?

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    “Can go into most hardware stores and buy Confidor off the shelf” – so people who eat home-grown veges, including those given by another non-commercial grower who has had a bumper crop, are in danger? In this case either the product should be outlawed and taken off the market, or the danger is being overstated. What do the studies on people eating non-commercially-obtained veges show? I expect hospitals and GP practices have provided data already, haven’t they?
    In the past Australia and US regulations effectively acted as trade protection for their own producers against more efficient farmers, orchardists and horticulturalists in NZ. Please excuse me for extending my skepticism of warnings such as the above, as possibly being as much about protecting one group of producers against other producers within NZ.

    • To me, sounds like ignore of foot and mouth at the borders . . . let’s have meat at any price, who cares ?

      Well, I do. Consumer protections are paramount, especially for food items, whether their origin is animal and or vegetable, and at whatever wholesale or retail price per unit.

  35. Elizabeth

    ODT visited our website again this morning with the search term *where to sell farm produce dunedin* – interesting that, given I’m a long-in-the-tooth founder of the whole Otago Farmers Market enterprise. But Phil Somerville gave it away tonight at Ch39 News. Check out tomorrow’s ODT…………….

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