17 Mar 2009

Seasonal employer scheme flourishing

8:57 pm on 17 March 2009

The Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme is working well in the Hawke's Bay region this year, according to a Horticulture New Zealand director.

The scheme, introduced in 2008, allows the horticulture sector to bring in workers from selected Pacific countries to help cover the seasonal labour shortage.

Ru Collin, who has more than 50 people working on his apple orchard near Hastings, says growers have learned much from the scheme.

Mr Collin says it is estimated that just over 3000 people from the Pacific Islands will work at Hawke's Bay orchards this year.

The pastoral care of workers from the Pacific Islands includes making sure there is someone on hand who can liaise between workers and the orchard owner, he says.

Mr Collins says a survey shows more than 80% of last year's workers from the South Pacific have returned this year, and growers have nicknamed RSE the reliable seasonal employee scheme.