Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Kiwifruit declaration – Union wants answers from government

FIRST Union says the kiwifruit declaration is at odds with the Government’s regional development initiatives, and it’s also worrying for workers.

Holders of overseas visitor permits can work in the industry in the Bay of Plenty for a short window of opportunity from now until June 8, following the Ministry of Social Development declaring a seasonal labour shortage in the region.

The New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) has welcomed the move, but the Union is concerned it will increase known exploitation in the area.

Just last year a government investigation found more than half of Bay of Plenty's kiwifruit audited employers failed to meet the bare minimum of basic employment standards.Immigration law specialist Richard Small said at the time that it was evident employers were willing to take advantage of vulnerable and desperate people.

FIRST Union General Secretary Dennis Maga says it’s a move that will place vulnerable workers into even more difficult situations.

“What others need to understand is that some people don’t have the same choices afforded to others and will accept any work because they are desperate. This leaves them wide-open to abuse, and sadly in our recent past many employers have taken advantage of this.”

Mr Maga says he has seen some atrocious treatment of workers in horticulture in New Zealand and the move provides a window of opportunity to further mistreat workers.

“Many of the employers who were employers last year during the investigation are still in the industry. I don’t think they’ve suddenly received a dose of ethics.”

He adds the government’s sending mixed messages. Its billion-dollar-a-year Regional Development Fund, a coalition deal between Labour and NZ First and overseen by Shane Jones, promises to support local workers through job creation, upskilling to provide good living standards, and therefore contributions to the national economy.

“We’re calling on Shane Jones for an explanation because this will work against the directive of the Provincial Growth Fund. I’m concerned Labour and NZ First haven’t thought this through, and it’ll be at the expense of vulnerable workers.”

Mr Maga says if the parties involved were to consider underemployment, they would realise workers were available in the region.

“What the government should be doing is telling these employers to work more efficiently with their local communities – find out what hours people are able to work and offer them those jobs.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On How National’s ”New” Welfare Plan Resurrects A Past Failure

Sam Uffindell’s defenders keep reminding us that he was only 16 at the time of the King’s College incident, and haven’t we all done things in our teens that, as adults, we look back on with shame and embarrassment? True. Let's be honest. Haven’t we all at one time or another, joined a gang and beaten a smaller, younger kid black and blue with wooden clubs? In that respect, Uffindell’s defenders on the streets of Tauranga risk sounding a bit like the psychiatrist Kargol played by Graham Chapman on Monty Python. Some of the media commentary has also noted how the Uffindell saga has taken the shine off National’s good poll results and distracted us all from the unveiling of an important welfare policy at the recent National Patty conference. OK… So let's put the spotlight back on that welfare policy...


National: Food Prices Climb Taking Kiwis Backwards
Kiwi families continue to battle runaway food prices, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says... More>>

Transport & Infrastructure: Have Your Say On The Future Of Inter-regional Passenger Rail In New Zealand

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee has opened an inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. The aim of the inquiry is to find out what the future could hold for inter-regional passenger rail... More>>

National: Sam Uffindell Stood Down Pending Investigation
Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell has been stood down from the National Party caucus pending an investigation into further allegations about his past behaviour, says National Party Leader Christopher Luxon... More>>

Government: Tax Break To Boost Long-term Rental Supply
The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax relief for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>

National: NZ Migrant Arrivals Hit Lowest Mark Since 1990s
Today’s net migration figures show that Labour has failed to deliver the desperately needed skilled migrants they promised, meaning labour shortages will persist into the future, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says... More>>

Green Party: Abuse Revelations Leave No Choice But To Overhaul RSE Scheme
The Green Party is calling on the Government to overhaul the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme in the wake of revelations of shocking human rights violations... More>>




InfoPages News Channels