Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Rick Barker Speech - Fruit Growers Awards Night

Hon Rick Barker Speech

Fruit Growers Awards Night & display of Delivery: 7pm Port of Napier

Thank you for inviting me to speak this evening. It is exciting to see so many cadets completing their horticultural training and others getting their first year scholarships.

Congratulations to all. You are entering an evolving industry with an exciting future. There are many opportunities in this industry. It was previously an industry with owner growers, but with the recent changes to the structure of the industry there has been a significant increase in corporate growers.

My experience of talking to seasonal industries across New Zealand has left me with an overriding impression that there is an acute shortage of middle management people. You have picked a good time to get involved in the horticulture industry.

Congratulations also to the Horticultural Industry Training Organisation along with the Eastern Institute of Technology who are models of what can be achieved with industry training partnerships. This is proving to be a very successful horticultural cadet scheme.

Partnerships are what it is all about in Hawke's Bay. The communication and trust developing between growers and with Work and Income and the development of 'best practice' within the industry is coming along in leaps and bounds.

And now we have this great new tool the 'PickNZ website, proudly home-grown in Hawke's Bay. Not only is it full of information for job seekers, but already it's linking up the industry who are emailing each other with snippets of information instantly. It's like the old style phone down on the farm - the fast wires and ears of those on the party line. The information is going out like hot cakes. Already there have been over a million clicks on the site: That's about 800,000 people who've logged-on!

Although this is a pilot project, already the kiwifruit industry and the citrus growers are looking at how they can get a website like this. As the Associate Minister for Work and Income I am proud to say that the department came on board with this early on and helped make it happen by supporting its creation and promotion.

But this level of communication and established trust is actually fairly new. Historically there has been a rather ad hoc approach to dealing with the expanding number of seasonal work opportunities and an increasing tension between the need for staff, contractors and immigration and an underlying frustration and concern that entire crops might not get harvested.

I feel today we are a good way down the road towards sustainable staffing, good employer practices and bumper crops.

Work and Income have mobile field workers in the premises of the Horticulture Association or based at their offices throughout the country. They are building regional relationships with the industry so that they know the real and unique needs of the season . Work and income are getting people off the benefit and into jobs. No-one likes people getting a benefit who could be working. And the vast majority of people without jobs want to be working.

In December I opened 'Seasonal Solutions' in Cromwell This is a 'one stop shop' for the cherry and apricot season down there. This concept is one office that offers accommodation information, Department of Labour info, Immigration assistance and Work and Income assistance all in the one place. This is the type of partnership developing in each region.

The government is working locally to help nationally. The approach is tailor made for each region. This is the nature of the industry and Work and Income are right on board. We know that there are people on the unemployment register who can fill these seasonal vacancies. The taxpayer wants them working and contrary to the image being pushed by the opposition the majority want to be working too.

Work and Income in Hawke's Bay are planning for well over two thirds of the 1800 on the unemployment register to be in seasonal work this time round. This isn't just people picking apples it is people driving fork lifts, working conveyer belts, packing boxes and doing maintenance. The medium and long-term focus is on government and industry working more closely together. And I urge industry to show good employment and recruitment practices. Workers do need decent bathrooms and a place to have lunch. It's smart to look after staff in order to keep them. This is the key to good productivity. There are long term careers in this industry. People who need jobs may have found a career for life and this is where it is of benefit to employers to try and keep their staff as they will become loyal assets. Nothing works better than an employer taking an interest in their staff.

Actually Work and Income have just sent out letters to senior citizens, that is people over 65 receiving the Super, to say, 'did you know there is seasonal work out there for you and you can do some work without having your super reduced?' And they have written to others who receive some sort of benefit to tell them about logging on to PickNZ to look for a job. I know a number of seniors who work in seasonal industries to help when its under pressure, to make some money and also to keep fit - to keep them young! Our retiries are in good shape. This brings a good opportunity for employers to get them on board as valuable assistants.

So at times of low unemployment it is a challenge for everyone to look outside the square and see what they can do: Employers to encourage their staff to stay and to employ people they perhaps wouldn't usually, and for others to take on work they may think they can't do.

I wish you all well with your endeavours and careers when you have completed your studies.

And now I believe it is time to have a closer look at this new website now so I'll hand you over to the person who knows how to navigate their way through it best. Once again, well done to those getting awards tonight and I look forward to chatting with you later in the evening.

Thank you.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election