Seasonal labour a vital ingredient

11 Jan 2018


Research New Zealand recently conducted a survey reporting on the impacts of the RSE scheme, where it has directly enabled:

- The area under cultivation to expand consistently over the last three years.

- The employment of more permanent and seasonal New Zealand workers.

- A more stable workforce, with better and more productive workers.

RSE workers supplement other seasonal employees, and account for roughly one in five of all seasonal workers across the country. In areas where unemployed is very low, more RSE workers are employed, while in areas with higher unemployment, fewer RSE workers are employed. But, in all cases, the RSE workers’ contributions to the work force mean that targets for expanding operations and maintaining productivity are achieved. Increased production, in turn, requires the employment of more permanent workers for year-round operations outside of the peak seasonal work times; these workers are usually New Zealanders.

The RSE scheme has been in operation for 10 years, and has supported the growth of New Zealand horticulture throughout, allowing growing operations to expand, and enabling the employment of more permanent and seasonal Kiwi workers. This has made it possible to run employer, industry, and Government work schemes aimed at getting New Zealanders into work in our gardens and orchards. 

The RSE scheme has been a vital ingredient in the growth of horticulture and, given the right policy settings, will continue to support horticulture’s growth into the future, which the Ministry estimates will increase by another 5.2% this year.


- Mike Chapman, CEO