Some jobseekers in the Tasman District would rather stay on the dole than pick apples.
Taylor, who did not want his last name used, said he had tried picking fruit and lasted only half a day and made $30. Now jobless, he would rather remain that way than pick fruit.
"Sore back, sore shoulders. Some people might like it, being outside in the fresh air and sunlight, but yeah, it's quite physical and demanding."
Will, who also did not want his last name used, said job satisfaction was a reason he would not pick fruit.
"You end up doing like, a nine to 10-hour day just doing the same thing, up and down. And then sometimes, if it rains for a week, you don't get paid."
Tasman was New Zealand's second largest apple producer behind Hawke's Bay, which soaked up the majority of an average 7000 fruit-picking job vacancies each year. But vacancy signs remained on the gates of many orchards.
Many growers relied on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme which allowed growers to recruit from overseas to fill work shortages. The cap has been lifted five times since 2007, from 5000 to just more than 11,000 now.
Motueka pear grower Mitch said that many unemployed people knew how to work the system so they could avoid working in the orchards.
"Our youth is very lazy. They would rather sit on their arse, and a lot of them know the ins and outs of what to say to Work and Income to be able to do that. Until that's sorted out we're going to have to use overseas workers," he said.
A jobless man in Motueka, who did not want to be named, said overseas workers employed through the scheme received better conditions than locals.
"The [New Zealand] ones that are here [live] in their cars."
This year a seasonal labour shortage was declared across the region allowing people on overseas visitor visas to apply for the fruit picking jobs.
However, fruit-picker Pavel, from the Czech Republic, took the opportunity in Motueka and said he had not found the pay too bad.
"If you are fast you can earn good money. I can earn money [picking] than if I worked at a temping house [work placement agency]."
Richmond grower Dennis Cassidy said pickers could earn above the adult minimum wage if they were fit.
"On my orchard they need to pick at least 1.2 tonnes [each day] to achieve that minimum wage but most people are able to do four or five bins."
The declaration of a seasonal labour shortage in Tasman comes to an end this week.