News of a review of New Zealand’s immigration policy has some in the primary sector a little nervous.
The sector relies heavily on migrant labour, especially when it comes to picking fruit and milking cows.
Industry leaders understand that the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme will be safe, but this Government has shown a strong preference for all employers to look for home-grown talent to fill any roles they may have.
There’s a lot to think about when weighing any change to immigration settings.
The primary industries have made pretty good returns in recent years and one could argue that it’s time to lessen the dependence on migrant labour. But with unemployment down below 5% it’s difficult to see where the workers would come from to fill the gaps and the RSE scheme plays a vital role in the economic well-being of many Pacific families.
Whoever does the work, it’s important they’re paid a dignified wage and have conditions that the employer and industry are happy to promote as part of their brand story.
Other industries have stumbled over after having untoward employment practices uncovered.
That’s something food producers can and should avoid.
Source: Bryan Gibson, Farmers Weekly, 5 May 2021
This article is featured in Harcourts Lifestyle & Rural Property Focus, Issue 3 2021.