Mowing over $40k worth of lillies, non-essential flower business says future is bleak

Source: 1News

Companies everywhere are dealing with loss of income but for the flower industry, it's a double hit.

As a non-essential business, they have to destroy their stock, meaning some businesses may close for good. 

Now packing boxes lie empty as the mower grinds away.

At one company, it means $40,000 of lilies are being destroyed, to be repeated in the coming weeks.

Eventually, they're looking at receivership or liquidation.

"I've put 30 years of my life into this business, our staff are like family to us," flower grower David Blewden told 1 NEWS.

Around 1000 flower growers in the country will face this dilemma, putting an industry worth over $110 million at risk.

They have to keep growing to keep the business ticking over for when the lockdown lifts and keep destroying till that happens.

It makes the fact you can still buy flowers from supermarkets a kick in the teeth.

Countdown says since finding out flowers are non-essential, they're winding the business down.

1 NEWS spoke to a supplier who says only yesterday they made a delivery despite knowing they shouldn't.

Mr Blewden says he's playing by the rules but the wage subsidy only helps, not heals, the issue.

"Thing we really are looking for from Jacinda [Ardern] and Grant [Robertson] is compensation for stock," he says.

Other companies don't have this problem.

"The Warehouse, for example, they'll open doors in four weeks time and they'll have stock on the shelves and they'll be able to immediately start trading."

Mr Blewden has ruled out the Government loan, believing he won't be able to repay it. 

He says the crisis will hit the flower market for years and will have major knock-on effects.