14 May 2018

NZ Kiwifruit industry to lobby for more RSE workers

From , 5:02 am on 14 May 2018

New Zealand's kiwifruit grower's body are looking to increase the cap on Pacific workers as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme for the 2019 season.

The body's chief executive Nikki Johnson says this reflects the current labour shortage facing the industry in the Bay of Plenty region.

She says the cap was increased from 10,500 to 11,100 for this year's season and around 2000 RSE workers will operate in the Bay of Plenty this year.

However an extra 1200 workers are needed over the next month to pick and pack the kiwifruit crop.

Ms Johnson says the harvest is up 20 percent on last year and they're expecting a similar increase in 2019.

She told Dominic Godfrey that she'd like RSE worker numbers to reflect that increase but the sector is not in a position to increase the numbers yet.

No caption

Photo: RNZ/Susan Murray