Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Season A Success But Not Without Issues


  • More secure workforce a key goal
  • NZKGI offers free winter pruning training
  • Labour supply remains issue for industry

The kiwifruit industry has successfully reached the end of its harvest with a record crop now headed for overseas markets – if not already there.


New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. CEO Colin Bond says the sector weathered the labour crisis that affected the country’s horticulture sector well – “but that was down to a combination of good practice and good fortune.”

Bond says the 2021 season’s domestic operational practices weren’t disrupted by COVID-19 to the same extent as last year’s, but continued border closures meant Working Holiday Visa (WHV) holder numbers were down significantly and RSE worker numbers were limited – meaning an even heavier reliance on Kiwis filling the roles.

“We continued our labour attraction strategies from previous years, based on getting good information on the work available to potential workers via collateral and a range of media, including a strong social media programme. That was bolstered this year by the support from the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Primary Industries which made significant contributions to get unemployed kiwis into the kiwifruit industry.

Bond says a pattern of mixed weather through the season – “it was a very wet season and a long one” - slowed the harvest, meaning that harvest work was often disrupted. “But that simply means the fruit is on the vines longer and increases the pressure to get it picked at the optimum time.”

One development that was expanded this year was to raise awareness of the career possibilities and long-term work available in the industry, says Bond. “We don’t just need workers for the harvest; we need them for crucial winter and summer maintenance work to ready the vines for the next year’s crop. For that, we’ve retained our ‘taster’ courses which give people an introduction to the roles and a chance to have a go.” More information on the winter pruning taster courses currently available can be viewed on the NZKGI website.

He says NZKGI would be closely reviewing and evaluating its 2021 recruitment programme and assessing the new challenges to identify how the labour uncertainties could be reduced in 2022.

“We see kiwifruit, along with the other horticultural crops, needing certainty of labour supply and one way we can encourage this is by supporting employment of a workforce that can be on the orchards almost year-round.”

Bond says the labour shortage issue is crying out for solutions to create certainty and RSE workers from the Pacific Islands are critical for the near future. “That would be a massive boon for both the Island economies, which are struggling given the massive impact of COVID-19 on tourism, and the New Zealand primary sector. In the longer term, the industry is also looking at automation and is innovating and expanding into this area.

He says labour will remain a critical topic as the industry heads into next season, “and we’ll be looking again to take a lead on this issue”.

  • Ends

Further information

  • Mike Murphy, NZKGI Communications Manager, 0800 232 505.

Kiwifruit Facts and Figures

  • Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export.
  • New Zealand kiwifruit production is expected to jump from 150 million trays in 2020 to 190 million trays in 2027.
  • The kiwifruit industry’s global revenue is expected to jump from $3.4 billion in 2020 to $6 billion by 2030.
  • Kiwifruit industry contribution to the regions:
    • Kerikeri: $55m
    • Whangarei: $21m
    • Auckland: $66m
    • Waihi/Coromandel: $23m
    • Bay of Plenty: $152m
    • Waikato: $66m
    • Poverty Bay: $57m
    • Hawkes Bay: $34m
    • Lower North Island: $6m
    • South Island: $63m

About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) works to advocate, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. We represent kiwifruit growers, giving them their own voice in industry and government decision making.

NZKGI’s headquarters in the Bay of Plenty, the geographic heart of the kiwifruit industry, is the central hub for the NZKGI Executive Committee, Forum members and staff.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Science Media Centre: Understanding DDoS cyber attacks – Expert Reaction

Cyber attacks have hit several New Zealand organisations this month, disrupting their online services. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were the same kind of cyber attack that affected the NZX around this time last year... More>>

Financial Markets Authority: Spike in investment scam complaints since COVID

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – is warning New Zealanders to be on the lookout for three unique types of scams that have been on the rise since the start of COVID-19. The warning comes as the FMA responds to a rise in complaints about investment scams and fraud lodged with the regulator in the first half of this year... More>>

Statistics: Strong export growth narrows current account deficit to $3B

The seasonally adjusted current account deficit narrowed to $3.0 billion in the June 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. The current account deficit was $2.2 billion narrower than the previous quarter due to an increase in value of goods exports (up $1.4 billion) and services exports (up $1.7 billion... More>>

Statistics: GDP rises in the June 2021 quarter

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.8 percent in the June 2021 quarter, following a 1.4 percent increase in the March 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. June 2021 quarter GDP was 4.3 percent higher when compared with the December 2019 quarter... More>>

Energy-from-waste: $350 Million Plant To Deliver Renewable Energy Considered

Investigations have begun into the viability of building an Energy-from-Waste plant that will safely convert 350,000 tonnes of waste, that would otherwise be dumped into South Island landfills annually, into renewable electricity... More>>

Olam: Confirms plans for commissioning of NZ dairy plant

OFI, a global leader in natural and sustainable food ingredient solutions, today confirmed plans to develop a new dairy processing facility at Tokoroa. It is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers... More>>