4 Jun 2009

New Zealand fruit producer wants RSE retained

3:43 pm on 4 June 2009

A major New Zealand pip fruit producer, Mr Apple Limited, says it's hoping worker numbers on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme will be retained for the next horticulture and viticulture season.

The government says in the year to March just over five and a half thousand Pacific Islanders came to New Zealand to work in vineyards and orchards under the scheme.

Mr Apple's Labour Manager Alistair Jamieson says they employ workers from Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, and many are now returning home but are keen to return next season.

But he suspects that worker numbers could drop next time due to the recession.

"We are currently in the process of putting together our application back through the Department of Labour for the workers for next year. And we're uncertain as to what the current situation will mean. And we're currently working with the industry in Hawkes Bay and with the wider horticulture industry to work with Government officials to work through those issues."

Alistair Jamieson led a discussion on Labour Mobility today at a Pacific Cooperation Foundation conference in Auckland today.