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Industry Welcomes Clamp Down on Illegal Practices

Please find media release attached.

Media Release
7 December 2006

Horticulture Industry Welcomes Clamp Down on Illegal Practices

New Zealand’s $2.6 billion export horticulture industry is welcoming news that the Department of Labour is clamping down on employers flouting immigration and labour laws, according to Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ)’s Chief Executive, Peter Silcock.

“HortNZ is very concerned that a few bad employers operating illegally may give the industry a bad name at a time when we are trying to attract more people into seasonal work,” says Mr Silcock.

“Growers are facing critical labour shortages so most of the industry is working very hard at finding new ways to attract and retain people. We are promoting work opportunities for New Zealanders and have worked with Government to establish systems that enable growers to recruit off-shore and to legally employ people who are in New Zealand as overseas visitors when there are no New Zealanders available.”

Mr Silcock went on to say that, in the face of severe labour shortages, the whole industry has put in an extra effort to improve employment practices and invest in training to attract and retain people.

“New Zealand’s horticulture industry has transformed over the past five years as employment practices have improved and become a lot more professional but like any industry we have some employers who don’t play by the rules and they do need to be bought to account,” said Mr Silcock.

Ends.

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