20 Oct 2014

Dairy farmers urged to look after workers

7:04 am on 20 October 2014

The national dairy industry body is pushing for greater responsibility among farmers, particularly when it comes to the working conditions on their farms.

There has been a spate of critical reports about record keeping on farms and Dairy NZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the industry is determined to sort out the issues, especially around labour rules and the employment of migrants.

"There's no doubt that as part of responsible dairy farming, we want to make sure that all dairy farmers are doing the right thing in terms of looking after their workers and, unfortunately like most things, it's one or two bad apples that spoil the whole barrel," he said.

"So that's an issue that we need to work through collectively and we're doing a lot of work at the moment with Federated Farmers in fact, to work out how as an industry we can make sure that we're all adhering to the same standards and that workers get a good experience."

The relationship between Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ has seen the two successfully lobby the Government this year to change minimum wage laws, so dairy farmers could avoid overtime payments by allowing them to pay their workers on a fortnightly rather than weekly basis.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs