The kiwifruit industry welcomes more Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers for next season, but must still work hard to attract the rest of the required workforce, said New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson.
NZKGI is pleased the government has approved a large increase in the number of RSE workers by 1,750, to reach 12,850 nationally.
In the Bay of Plenty, where most of the kiwifruit industry is based, farms took about 2,000 of the national total of 11,100 RSE workers in 2018. Details are still being worked out but it looks like in 2019 Bay of Plenty can expect about 300 more RSE workers.
“The additional RSE workers will contribute to alleviating the pressure of the labour shortage but the industry will still need to work hard to attract the rest of the workforce required,” Johnson says. RSE workers make up fewer than 20% of the seasonal workforce in kiwifruit.
“We are delighted with the Government’s decision to approve an increase in the RSE cap,” Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard says.