19 Feb 2008

Horticulture New Zealand says changes will not impact Seasonal Employers Scheme

11:57 am on 19 February 2008

Horticulture New Zealand says it's had positive feedback about the amendment to seasonal work policies including the transitional recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme.

The government announced changes last year which will give overseas visitors working on orchards and vineyards flexibility to move around and work for more than one employer.

The CEO of Horticulture NZ, Peter Silcock, says apple growers in particular have told him the policy changes will make a huge difference in finding enough workers.

He says the changes will not impact on the main recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme or RSE which is aimed at recruiting Pacific workers.

He says that reassurance has seen Pacific Island leaders responded favorably.

"It's been a really good uptake of RSE within the industry, there'll be a lot of people coming into places like Hawkes Bay and Nelson and doing a really good job for us with the harvest, and they're going to become a very critical part of the workforce."

More than 6,000 Pacific workers are employed during the picking season throughout New Zealand.