19 Nov 2008

Nelson orchardists praise seasonal worker scheme

8:59 pm on 19 November 2008

Nelson orchardists are praising the Pacific Islander seasonal recruitment scheme, saying direct employment by owners is preventing problems that have caused controversy in the Marlborough wine industry.

Orchard owner Richard Hoddy is spending $250,000 on building accommodation for Tongan workers arriving under the Government's registered seasonal employer scheme.

He says housing them on the orchard makes for happier and more productive workers.

Tasman's Mayor Richard Kempthorne says the local employment culture is better than in Marlborough because owners, rather than contractors, employ most of the seasonal workers.

Mr Kempthorne says most of Nelson's seasonal workers are housed where they work.