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Media Releases / July 17, 2017

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Disappointed with any Breaches of Employment Standards


18 July 2017

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Disappointed with any Breaches of Employment Standards

• Kiwifruit industry continues to lift compliance with employment legislation
• Government and industry must work together to achieve improvements

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) says that breaches of employment standards reflect the need for further involvement by both government and industry stakeholders to lift compliance with employment legislation.

“As the kiwifruit industry expands rapidly, workers welfare remains paramount. The employers of around 10,000 permanent employees and 8,000 seasonal employees must comply with employment standards,” says NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson. “Evidence of poor employment law compliance in the industry is both disappointing and unacceptable and NZKGI will work with industry stakeholders to act decisively in addressing this issue.” In addition to current measures, a number of new changes are underway:

– Following on from a pilot in 2016, from next season all orchard contractors and all growers will be assessed as part of GlobalG.A.P GRASP, which monitors compliance with employment law and worker welfare. GlobalG.A.P. is a worldwide standard on good agricultural practice involving certification and assurance on safe and sustainable practices.

– In addition to educating growers and contractors about their legal responsibilities to their workers, NZKGI has commissioned research to better understand labour practices in the kiwifruit industry. The research provides an independent view of recruitment, employment and management of seasonal labour from the perspective of growers, contractors, and post-harvest organisations. NZKGI will utilise the outcomes from this research to improve industry systems which ensure labour compliance.

“While significant improvements have been made, there is still work to be done. NZKGI leads a broad sector approach working alongside government organisations to ensure compliance of all employers in New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry,” says Nikki.

NZKGI encourages anyone who knows of illegal labour practices in the kiwifruit industry to contact NZKGI (0800 232 505) and MBIE (0800 20 90 20).