27 Jan 2016

Seasonal workers stuck in Vanuatu

9:31 am on 27 January 2016

Horticulture New Zealand says more than 500 seasonal workers stuck in Vanuatu could miss out on crucial work in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has suspended its flights to and from Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, because of damage to the runway.

It means seasonal workers booked to fly to New Zealand in the next few weeks to pick fruit are grounded until a solution is found.

The national labour co-ordinator for Horticulture New Zealand, Jerf van Beek says the situation is urgent, as growers need pickers and workers need work.

"These workers come here for seven months but predominantely the harvest season is the most important. In Hawke's Bay there's about 480 still to come, there's already quite a number here. Close to 3000 will be here working and we've got a very big crop."

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