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Exploitation Not The Norm

Exploitation Not The Norm

Monday 24 Feb 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today criticised farmers who seek to exploit workers, but said the recent alleged exploitation of Ukrainian farm workers is more likely to be an aberration, rather than a regular occurrence.

"Unfortunately, there are employers like that in the farming industry, as in any industry. Exploitation of employees is very much the exception, not the rule," Mr Eckhoff said.

"The days of farmers treating young men and women as little more than glorified slave labour are long gone, and farming requires professional management - of which labour relations are an essential part," Mr Eckhoff said.

"The demand for skilled labour in New Zealand's most essential industry is unmet, and migrants - whether they be from Zimbabwe or the Ukraine - must be encouraged to come to New Zealand with a clear career path available.

"The market has demanded significant increases in wages and conditions for those engaged in land-based industry and rights.

"Those farmers who believe they can pay inadequate wages won't have much of a future in the industry - unless they're prepared to single-handedly milk 500 cows and complete all other necessary tasks in 24 hours," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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