22 Apr 2009

Pacific Island seasonal workers good for NZ apple industry

10:24 am on 22 April 2009

The New Zealand apple industry says the several thousand Pacific Island seasonal workers have helped to bring in one of the best quality crops the industry has ever produced.

Apple growers say the short term seasonal labourers have improved the industry.

Close to 3 thousand Pacific Island seasonal workers are employed in the apple industry in New Zealand's Hawkes Bay and about 900 in Nelson and Central Otago.

Gary Jones of Pipfruit, the country's top fruit industry body, says the Pacific seasonal workers make up the gaps in the workforce.

"It's that extra number and the fact they come back year after year so they're almost a permanent seasonal work-force coming back with skills and they really have just taken our ability to maximise the value of the crop a lot further. And now we're getting all our fruit off on time and in the best quality."

Gary Jones says this is also increasing the volume of fruit exported and in turn is creating more jobs for New Zealanders.