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More hands needed for Hawke's Bay apple harvest

On the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, at Hawke’s Bay, the peak of the apple season is only weeks away. Among the growers, concern is spreading whether there will be enough workers to harvest Hawke's Bay's ‘bumper apple crop’.

Hawke's Bay Seasonal Labour Group chair Gary Jones: "Hawke's Bay needs a workforce of more than 12,000 people to fill permanent and seasonal jobs so we can harvest our export crop. Demand for labour is very high as the season comes on. With the Hawke's Bay economy booming, the region has 3,300 less unemployed this season, that's a drop of 36 per cent".

Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Lesley Wilson said reduced unemployment figures were "good for Hawke's Bay, not good for our industry".

According to, with fewer people looking for jobs, and a lack of accommodation meaning there were fewer backpackers around over summer, horticulturalists are starting to feel the pressure. They have got a huge crop coming on and the peak of it will be in two to three weeks. To be proactive, the Fruitgrowers Association and New Zealand Apples and Pears are running a job recruitment drive with employment opportunities for hundreds of workers.

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