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Horticulture industry welcomes any move to improve labour supply

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19 April 2023, New Zealand: Horticulture New Zealand says the industry welcomes any move to improve labour supply to support continued growth in commercial fruit and vegetable growing in New Zealand.

‘Horticulture businesses have struggled to find sufficient seasonal labour for the past three years. Coming out of Covid restrictions, investors need certainty around labour to continue to invest in horticulture,’ says HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil. 

‘The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme has been in place for more than 15 years, giving horticulture a much-needed seasonal workforce.

‘It’s a really important scheme for our industry as well as the Pacific. The scheme helps our industry meet skilled seasonal labour needs while providing people from the Pacific with the opportunity to learn valuable skills as well as earn money to invest in their communities.

‘Knowing they have access to skilled labour provides growers with confidence to plan for the future. That’s why our industry is heavily involved in the New Zealand Government’s review of the RSE scheme, to ensure the scheme meets the needs of the Pacific as well as our industry.

‘One of the Pacific’s concerns is the draw on their labour force. As the RSE scheme evolves, we agree with the approach of reducing reliance on the Pacific by looking at recruiting skilled seasonal workers from Asia and other countries, while ensuring the integrity of the RSE scheme and New Zealand’s unique role in the Pacific.’ 

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