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Hastings’ housing issues aired with Immigration Minister

A meeting with the Minister of Immigration has provided the Hastings District Council an opportunity to air concerns regarding the annual influx of RSE workers and the pressure this puts on accommodation in Hastings.

The district’s horticulture sector houses around 4,500 seasonal workers each year, this number predicted to double in the next five to 10 years based on the expected growth of the horticulture industry in the district.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says accommodating our seasonal workers places significant pressure on the existing rental housing resource.

“The need to provide RSE workers somewhere to live is contributing to the major housing shortage we’re facing in our district.

“Recent changes to the Council’s District Plan are designed to help relieve some of that pressure by allowing accommodation for seasonal workers to be built on orchards and in light industrial areas.

“However, orchardists need certainty around long-term RSE contracts if they are going to invest in on-site accommodation for their seasonal workers.”

Friday’s meeting with horticulture and viticulture industry representatives, HDC, MSD and Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway was an important opportunity to look at ways to bring about that much-needed certainty for both the short and long term.

Mayor Hazlehurst said the Minister visited some amazing local examples of industry leaders taking the initiative to house RSE workers on-site.

“Iain Lees-Galloway was really impressed with how the industry is already accommodating our workers.

“HDC has consents for more than 200 additional beds for RSE workers but there will still be a shortfall.

“We know a further 1000 RSE workers are coming next year so it’s vital we work together with central government and the industry to have a plan on how we’re going to house our seasonal workers as well as meet the accommodation needs of our whole community.”

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