New Zealand: Local nursery to close it doors

New Start Gardens in New Plymouth's Saxton Rd, NZ, is closing its doors after its funding was cut back and a riparian contract was reduced. Ian Littlewood, chairman of the New Start Gardens governing board, said a number of factors had led to the closure of the nursery, established more than a decade ago.

"This year our main sponsors cut back the money we received and Taranaki Regional Council chopped our tender, so the operation was no longer profitable."

He didn't want to say who the sponsors were except that they were organisations, not individual donors.

The nursery was also disappointed to learn TRC wanted fewer of its plants in the public tender process. Until recently it had supplied about 8000 native shrubs to the riparian planting programme. The nursery was already experiencing funding issues and the reduced tender was the last straw.

Two staff - a fulltime garden supervisor and part-time worker - had been made redundant and the plant stock was being sold off in public plant sales. Other nursery facilities such as a large shade house could be leased out.

The nursery operation used volunteer workers but they had become harder to find, Mr Littlewood said.

However, it continued to use community corrections workers in its veggie gardens with food harvested regularly for Friday food parcels.

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