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Iain Lees Galloway Must Explain RSE Pseudo Announcement

"The Immigration Minister's ham-fisted comments on the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme show up everything wrong with the scheme," according to ACT Leader David Seymour

Yesterday, under questioning by Ryan Bridge, Lees-Galloway said that one particularly 'vocal' strawberry grower would be awarded the right to employ 153 workers under the RSE scheme.

"Anyone listening to this would recognise an unmistakable reference to my constituent Francie Perry of Perry's Berrys. Francie has an application for precisely 153 places, grows strawberries, and has been widely reported by various media in recent weeks.

"It is now unclear that any such decision has been made. The Minister needs to confirm what he was talking about when he said 153 were allocated.

"If he wasn't referring to Perry's Berrys, what was he referring to? What advice did he have from officials to say 153 would be allocated? Does he think it's normal for Ministers to telegraph such specific announcements so opaquely on live radio?"

"Questions must be asked because the horticultural industry cannot continue under uncertainty. They certainly can't continue under uncertainty created by the Minister of Immigration himself.

"Francie Perry now finds herself back where she was 24 hours ago, bemused by having had her hopes raised unreasonably by the Minister speaking in the media.

"The practical reality is that crops ripen when nature is ready, not when the bureaucracy is ready. If the Minister doesn't sort it out, crops will rot in the ground as they did last year.

"The real answer to to remove the cap on the number of RSE workers. Removing the cap would let businesses that follow the law employ the workers they need to grow their business.

Note to editors: The Government announced how many RSE workers would be allowed nationwide on Thursday morning. The Issue at hand now is how they will be divided amounts employers. The Strawberry season begins next month, so to the extent the harvest relies on the RSE scheme (heavily), it is already too late.


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