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Support for seasonal labour shortage strategy

23 March 2005

Support for seasonal labour shortage strategy

The Labour Progressive government is to work in partnership with New Zealand Fruitgrowers’ Federation to develop a joint industry/government strategy to address labour shortages in the horticulture and viticulture industries in the short, medium and long-term. FruitFed will lead the project.

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton announced the government contribution to the initiative of $65,275 from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Sector Initiatives Fund, in his closing speech to the Regional Development Conference in Napier today.

"Record low unemployment and strong seasonal demand for workers from the horticulture and viticulture industries are leading to serious labour shortages that could act as a brake on the industries’ growth.

“The horticulture and viticulture industries are important contributors to the wider New Zealand economy. The difficulty they face in finding staff is symptomatic of a thriving economy.

"Industry bodies will make a considerable financial contribution to the project, in line with Sector Iintiatives Fund (SIF) requirements. The project will develop long-term solutions based around a number of key themes. These include improving labour participation and utilisation, attracting and retaining global talent, promoting ongoing skill development and improving workplace quality and productivity," Jim Anderton said.

The project is designed to build upon other existing industry initiatives to address labour shortages. These include the recent highly successful launch of the picknz website (www.picknz.co.nz).

The project will be a collaborative exercise between industry bodies and the government, involving representatives from Vegfed, NZ Winegrowers, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Department of Labour (DoL).

The overall aim is to support the long-term sustainable growth of the horticulture and viticulture industries. This project will provide some useful learning that can be applied to the wider food and beverage sector, which last month commenced formal engagement with the government.

A strategy document will be prepared and made available to industry stakeholders by the end of April. The group will present recommendations to Ministers by the end of May.

Editor’s note

Sector Initiatives Fund The purpose of the SIF is to provide support for industry projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but fall outside the criteria of other government assistance programmes. Priority for funding is given to proposals that:

Are identified as key contributors to the implementation of sector strategies being developed in partnership with industry, through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development; Are supported by key stakeholders such as industry and local government; and Have the potential for wider cross-industry application of benefits, for example infrastructure.

Projects supported are selected on a case by case basis, and require approval by the Minister of Economic Development.

Other requirements of SIF applications include:

Robust governance and accountability systems around funded projects; Projects are not to be in receipt of other government funds; Payment of funds is by instalment, based upon the applicant achieving contractually agreed project milestones.

ENDS


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