Land use constraints to increasing horticultural production in the western Bay of Plenty : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Horticultural Science in Horticultural Economics and Marketing at Massey University
The Western Bay of Plenty, because of its climate, resources, and infrastructure, is an ideal place for the development of horticultural enterprises. The development of the horticultural industry, and especially Kiwifruit, over the last 10 years, has resulted in dramatic changes in land use. These changes have been particularly noticeable in Tauranga County. In contrast the rate of horticultural development in Whakatane County is still very small compared to total land in agriculture. The beneficial effects of the changing patterns of land use, i.e. increased economic activity, labour opportunities, and rural re-population seem to outweigh the costs in terms of social friction, effects on dairy companies, and land speculation. In the period from 1972 to 1979, Tauranga County District Planning Schemes were found to have restrained horticultural development within the area. However in the present second review of the Tauranga County District Scheme, the Council was found to have liberalized its attitude towards land subdivisions for horticulture. Although land for horticultural uses, especially in the county's Rural B zone, must satisfy certain conditions as set out in the code of ordinances. In the Whakatane County, with little demand for horticultural lots, horticultural subdivisions have been based on the productive capacity of the land. Subdivision plans are approved on merit. An economic analysis of three orchards in the Tauranga County revealed that fruit production, especially Kiwifruit growing, is a profitable use of land. Orchard net farm incomes increase as orchard sizes increase and as orchards become more specialized. Financial benefits are accruing to the orchard owners through both income and property value appreciation. Small areas used for orcharding, e.g. 1 hectare of Kiwifruit, can be more profitable than 48 hectares used for dairying. In 1983, the total area in horticulture in the Western Bay of Plenty could exceed 7,000 hectares. Kiwifruit plantings will comprise 68 per cent of this area. Ninety per cent of these expected plantings will occur in Tauranga County and the balance in the Whakatane district. Tauranga County has 38,500 hectares of land potentially suitable for horticulture. The majority of this land is in the County's Rural B zone. The ordinances regulating horticultural subdivisions in this zone will be amended to encourage further horticultural development when horticulturalists and farmers demand change. In 1990, the financial benefits from the region's proposed horticultural plantings to 1983, at current prices and costs, could reach $319 million. In the period from 1980 to 1990, the casual labour requirements for Kiwifruit pruning and training in the Western Bay of Plenty is expected to increase by 1370 persons. The numbers of fulltime persons (this includes working owners and/or managers) will increase by 1330 persons. Casual labour for Kiwifruit harvesting and packing will increase by 10,000 persons.