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Declaration of Seasonal Hawke’s Bay Labour Shortage

12 March 2018.

Ministry of Social Development has today declared a seasonal labour shortage across Hawke’s Bay.

East Coast Regional Commissioner Annie Aranui says the declaration is for the 12 March until 6 April 2018 and follows discussions with leaders from the pipfruit sector and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Forecasts expect that the peak harvest season for the Hawke’s Bay pipfruit sector will be short and sharp and expected to last 21 days.

It is forecast that 14 million cartons of apples will be packed this year in the Hawke's Bay, this is an additional 1.3 million cartons compared to last year.

Since October 2017, the Ministry’s East Coast region has placed 820 jobseekers into the horticulture industry.

"We will continue to support jobseekers still facing unemployment to enter the horticulture industry by providing work brokerage support, training and upskilling opportunities," Mrs Aranui says.

"We are running specialised seminars to identify and refer jobseekers to vacancies."

The last labour shortage declaration for all of Hawke's Bay was made in 2010 when the unemployment rate was at 6.4 percent. The current rate is 5.6 percent.

New Zealand Apples & Pears supports Labour Shortage Declaration for Hawke’s Bay

New Zealand Apples & Pears Chief Executive Alan Pollard says the industry supports the declaration of a labour shortage in Hawke’s Bay and is working closely with the Ministry of Social Development.

A major job recruitment drive across the region, including a public campaign by NZ Apples & Pears, Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers Association and PickNZ, has provided modest numbers of workers who have been immediately placed into suitable work.

Mr Pollard says Hawke’s Bay apple and pear industry is at full capacity harvesting this year’s crop.

Hawke’s Bay Season Labour Group Chair Gary Jones says the strong Hawke’s Bay economy, and low unemployment, means the industry is competing for workers.

"This will now enable us to access as many available seasonal workers as possible to help harvest our fruit crops in Hawke’s Bay," he says.

The declaration of a seasonal labour shortage allows overseas visitors, who already hold visitor permits, to gain permits for working on orchards and vineyards.

"Once the season is over, employers will be looking to offer permanent jobs to suitable New Zealand workers," Mr Jones says.

The industry is growing approximately 300 permanent employment opportunities a year to manage growth.

The larger apple businesses have pastoral care staff who work with the Pacific Island workers who come into Hawke’s Bay for the seasonal peaks.

Outside of these peaks these pastoral care staff work with the New Zealand workers to help them transition into their full-time roles.

New Zealand Apples & Pears will continue working closely with Government to ensure it keeps growing more full-time jobs for New Zealanders.

For more information contact:

Public Affairs | National Communications | Ministry of Social Development

Email: media@msd.govt.nz

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