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Minimum wage rises will affect already hurting NZ horti industry

From April 1 this year, the adult minimum wage across New Zealand will rise to $22.70 per hour. Training and starting wage rates will increase from $16.96 to $18.16. The industry as a whole is watching with concern.

New Zealand orchard management company Dataphyll is a Kiwi tech start-up that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to create an efficient harvest system (Dataphyll Grow) that helps growers improve productivity, fruit quality, meet compliance obligations and measure picker performance down to the last berry.

Dataphyll CEO Christoph Kistler: "We're not say don't pay fair wages for a fair day's work-pickers should be suitably compensated for their labors. But this minimum wage increase will hurt not just small growers, but ultimately it will hit the consumer in the pocket and deprive Pasifika of employment opportunities."

Kistler said the new minimum wage increases would make the Government's goal more challenging for the horticulture sector since more of its revenue will be funnelled into wages rather than being reinvested into expanding the industry to reach those targets.

"With all the additional costs horticulture businesses have this year, with the supply chain and the follow-on consequences of Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather events, this policy change puts more pressure on small growers especially.”


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