Access to labour critical to horticulture’s growth

16 Mar 2018

Horticulture is growing rapidly and demand for workers is higher than the number of people available, says Mike Chapman, chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand.

"We need more people, immediately, as well as in planning for the future. This is why we support any good initiative to get New Zealanders taking up the healthy lifestyle that a career in horticulture offers," Chapman says. "The launch of this Work The Seasons website today gives growers access to more workers and gives people looking for work the chance to see what great opportunities exist in horticulture, not only for seasonal work, but also for permanent work and a lasting career."

The website, an initiative of the Ministry of Social Development, was launched today by Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni and Minister for Employment Willie Jackson at an event hosted by vegetable growers A S Wilcox & Sons in Pukekohe.

"As an employer involved across the horticulture value chain, we applaud the introduction of tools such as this website," Kevin Wilcox, managing director of A S Wilcox & Sons, says. "One of our values as a business is ‘we grow people too’ and attracting, training and retaining people at all levels is vital to both our business and the wider industry."

"Industry and Government need to work together on the labour shortages we are facing and on getting more New Zealanders into work and this website is an example of that. Free for both employers and those seeking work it gives high visibility to the opportunities and takes away any barriers connecting employer to employee," Chapman says.

"We also need to work together to ensure good employment practices and fair treatment of workers and it is good to see on this website the option to report poor employers.

"For those who want it and are reliable and willing to keep upskilling, there are many excellent careers in horticulture that are well rewarded. For example, a top orchard manager can earn about $100,000 and have a vehicle included in their salary package.

"We want to keep growing and we want to take New Zealand workers with us, so we applaud this initiative and look forward to seeing growers signing up and using the site."