It's that time of the year when we hear the same old story about fruit grower's desperation to hire harvesting staff.
More than 11,000 foreigners in New Zealand have been individually urged to immediately take up seasonal work in Central Otago, as desperate cherry growers in the district teeter on the brink of losing their crucial export harvests because of a labour shortage.
From Boxing Day, every visitor thought to be in New Zealand with a Holiday Working Scheme permit was sent text messages and emails urging them to head to Central Otago, in a last-ditch effort by Horticulture New Zealand and the Department of Labour to boost workers in the district.
Central Otago has been recognised as having an absolute labour shortage by Work and Income New Zealand for the past three years.
There are 19,000 people aged 18-64 picking up a benefit in Southland alone. I understand some would not be able to do the physical work required and some would need to make arrangements for young children. That aside I cannot accept there isn't labour available in that pool. Whether it is willing is another matter. Perhaps the government should be less willing to provide them with an alternative.
June 20 in history
3 hours ago