LEADING kiwifruit growers Catriona and Mark White were invited to speak at Parliament by Labour MP Kiri Allan, centre.Photo supplied

WHAKATANE-based Labour List MP Kiri Allan said Opotiki’s successful kiwifruit growers Catriona and Mark White were invited to Wellington last week to share their knowledge.

Last year, the couple were the supreme winners of the Bay of Plenty Farm Environment Awards with their organic kiwifruit orchard Coastal Kiwis.

“Catriona and Mark White came to New Zealand Parliament to present to the Primary Production Committee on being exceptional organic food producers,” Ms Allan said.

“I am the deputy chair of the Primary Production select committee and I thought it would be useful to hear from them as ambassadors for the Eastern Bay of Plenty and as exceptional food producers as well as employers.”

Ms Allan said the Whites were also devoted to exceptional environmental practices.

Mrs White said she and her husband had spoken to seven or eight people for about an hour.

“It was nice for them to hear from the grass roots,” she said. “We covered a wide range of topics including consumers, packaging, organics, labour, biosecurity, our industry, and our business.”

The MPs had asked a variety of questions.

“There was quite a lot of discussion about the biosecurity processes that exist in New Zealand, and the potential risks that currently exist,” Mrs White said.

“Everyone was impressed to see the tray of Class One organic SunGold fruit – it was mentioned how fruit of this quality is not often seen in New Zealand – and we left it for the MPs and the larger group present to enjoy.”