NZKGI coordinates the Bay of Plenty Labour Governance Group, which determines seasonal labour needs and advises the government of the requirement for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers. These workers come to New Zealand generally from the Pacific Islands and provide a much needed supplement to New Zealanders and people on working holidays during the harvest and pruning season.
NZKGI provides feedback on schemes that focus on utilising New Zealanders, such as the Seasonal Work Scheme which brings New Zealanders from other regions to kiwifruit areas in peak times to provide the necessary labour force.
NZKGI is involved in several projects focussing on ensuring the kiwifruit industry has permanent labour available as needed, and that the industry is operating in accordance with employment best practice. These projects include:
Funded by the Ministry for Social Development (MSD), this project focusses on identifying unemployed people and assisting them into permanent work in the industry. Potential workers are pre-screened for suitability by the project coordinator, Ian Fryer, then provided with training and pastoral care and placed with an employer in a permanent role. The project has been very successful with 65% of workers under the project remaining in full-time work.
Also funded by MSD, this project has developed a worker ID card for contractors that proves a worker is eligible for work in New Zealand and has an IRD number. Growers utilising contractors can ask to see the ID cards as proof of eligibility to work when workers are on their orchards. Led by Master Contractors Inc., the project has issued more than 500 cards so far with more to come. Visit the Master Contractors website for information on how to get ID Cards.
NZKGI is focussed on ensuring the industry continues to attract new people and provides opportunities for growers to become involved in industry leadership. The skills of individual Forum members are utilised across a range of industry subcommittees and training is provided wherever possible.