20 Nov 2012

HNZ says Maori always first in line for seasonal work

3:18 pm on 20 November 2012

Horticulture New Zealand says New Zealand workers are always ahead of the queue for seasonal jobs.

The Hawke's Bay iwi, Ngati Kahungunu, wants to set up talks with the horticulture and viticulture sectors about how Maori can get jobs.

Vineyards and orchards currently hire a lot of labour from the Pacific Islands, under the Government's Recognised Seasonal Employer Policy.

The industry advocate's seasonal labour national co-ordinator, Jerf van Beek, says Maori have always been employed in seasonal work.

"We look at New Zealanders first and as employers we all say New Zealanders are the best option for us. They live here, they live in our regions, they don't have to travel, they are flexible and they can come back year after year because they live here."

But he says some regions, such as Nelson and Central Otago, have lower unemployment and need overseas workers to meet demand.