Rule change will help meet RSE workers’ housing needs
It will soon be easier for employers seeking to accommodate RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) workers with a variation to the proposed district plan adopted by the Hastings District Council strategy planning and partnerships committee last week.
With the horticulture sector booming in Hawke’s Bay so too the need for workers has increased, and in the case of RSE workers in particular the need to provide accommodation for them.
The industry predicts that the current 4000 RSE workers in Hawke’s Bay could double by 2022 adding to the pressure to house them comfortably.
Council’s discussions with stakeholders identified that small self-catering clusters on the sites where RSE workers were working was preferable, as well as a larger camp model in a central location from where workers would be transported to the sites.
Currently the proposed district plan does not provide for seasonal worker accommodation apart from in the plains production zone where it is a permitted activity up to 125m2 in gross floor area.
The variation would allow larger seasonal worker accommodation to be built in this zone, and also enable accommodation to be built in the industrial zones of Omahu and Irongate, and other light industrial zones.
In addition, the variation would legitimise seasonal workers’ accommodation in residential zones and cap household numbers to eight people.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the decision will make it easier for employers to build much-needed accommodation for our seasonal workforce.
“This will also help reduce the pressure on the existing rental housing resource, which is facing a critical shortage.”