Australia's Can-do Attitude Puts Labour To Shame
“The Prime Minister should hang her head in shame at news that the New South Wales Government is importing workers direct from the Pacific Islands to pick its crops,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“There are local industries crying out for a workforce they can’t find here and workers in Pacific Island countries with very little, if any, Covid-19 crying out for work.
“But the New Zealand Government refuses to match them up, glibly saying the RSE workers can return when it’s safe to do so.
“If the Pacific Islands are not presently considered safe enough for primary sector workers to travel here, why was the Government willing to let hundreds of fishermen in from Russia, where COVID-19 is rampant? It doesn’t stack up.
“Meanwhile Australia is flying workers in from the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, quarantining them and getting them into the fields just as the fruit and vegetables are ripening.
“Jacinda Ardern seems prepared to let that produce rot on the ground, in part because the Government wants to have a fight with employers who they think will attract all the local workers they need simply by increasing wages.
“Now is not the time for a petty stand-off over employment relations. There would normally be up to 14,400 RSE workers in our fields and the economy is relying on the businesses that employ them more than ever.
“We need to get places in managed isolation set aside for RSE workers in time to protect incomes and New Zealand’s reputation as a primary produce exporter.
“I’m staggered the Government is showing so little urgency for our productive sector when the country needs it most."