16 Nov 2010

NZ kiwifruit virus delays hiring of seasonal workers from Tonga

1:53 pm on 16 November 2010

The virus afflicting kiwifruit orchards in New Zealands Bay of Plenty has forced 20 seasonal workers from Tonga to delay their departure.

The organiser of the workers, Sefita Haouli, says they were to arrive last week to work on pollination in the orchards.

Richard Pamatatau reports.

"Sefita Haouli says the workers recognise there is little they can do and he is urging them to be patient. He says seasonal workers across the Pacific are beginning to express concern because if the disease cannot be contained that will affect exports and then their wages. Mr Haouli says people in Tonga are worried but hope they will be able to come to New Zealand for work in the near future. He says if the vines need to be destroyed to eradicate the virus, the impact will be signficant in the islands."