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Seasonal Labour Strategy Launched

8 December 2005

Seasonal Labour Strategy Launched

A strategy for seasonal labour in the country's horticulture and viticulture industries was launched today by the Minister of Social Development and Employment David Benson-Pope, and Immigration Minister David Cunliffe.

"Horticulture and viticulture are vital for the country with exports at more than $2 billion a year, as well as providing domestic produce, and we are delighted with the strategy, which shows government and industry can cooperate to address short-term and long-term industry needs," said David Benson-Pope.

The strategy includes a range of initiatives to meet the seasonal labour needs for New Zealand's fruit, winegrape and vegetable crops.

Recent expansion of New Zealand's orchards and vineyards, requires increasing numbers of seasonal labourers – at a time when low unemployment has meant a drop in local labour supplies.

A working group of industry, union and government representatives has developed the strategy over the past 12 months, that involves innovative changes in both government policy and industry practice.

The Ministers said government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Labour, and the Department of Inland Revenue have worked in consultation with the Council of Trade Unions, and industry representatives.

"The Government realises a mix of labour sources is needed," said David Cunliffe. "While the priority is to employ New Zealand labour first, overseas sources are needed to meet seasonal demands.

"The Government will continue to further develop and review its immigration, tax and labour policies to assist all industry in sourcing the necessary labour."

The medium to long-term strategy provides a framework for industry and government to continue working together to achieve sustainability and further growth for the industry, they said.

ENDS

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