Desperate employers are struggling to get New Zealand private citizens to fill jobs, with about 9000 advertised in the region this summer. People in Central Otago are also being called upon to get fruit off trees this year and offer up beds for workers as the region looks to plug a potential labour crisis.
Of those, about 7000 are in horticulture and viticulture, 2000 in meat and food processing and more than 50 in the hospitality sector.
With many migrant workers having left the country and those here often struggling to get employer-sponsored visas renewed, there are fears an impending worker shortage will put $50 million of crops across the region at risk.
The Central Otago Recovery Response Group has pleaded for locals who may be looking for work or even retired to consider helping.
James Dicey, owner of Cromwell vineyard development firm Grape Vision, is offering $18.90 an hour to unskilled viticulture workers, with a free tent site and transport. Dicey is also offering flexible hours, recently employing a Cromwell mum who worked during school hours, while others could work up to 60 hours a week.