05 October 2020
With the recent snow through the region it’s difficult to believe it is springtime. Our countries economic recovery will be very reliant on our primary sector. There is no doubt about that.
All primary producers will need help this year to maximise production where they can. Mother Nature continues her cycle of production and is oblivious to the upheaval that Covid has delivered to us.
Spring is when the pasture grows, dairy production accelerates, lambs are fattened, and fruit sets. How we approach this as a nation will help shape the economic recovery.
The Otago Southland regions harvest workforce is usually supplemented by Pacific workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, and has been since 2007 with worker numbers rising from 5,000 annually to 14,400 last year. The scheme is a partnership which sees labour performed in New Zealand in return for wages and the consequential economic benefits for the Pacific. With the borders closed, our labour resource is badly depleted. There is a desperate need to find a willing workforce to fill the gap. It will need to be a local workforce.
Even if every unemployed person in Central Otago and Queenstown turned up to work, we will still be short of workers.
We need people to be preparing now to thin fruit, net trees, irrigate, pick and pack a wide variety of summer fruits, pip fruit and maintain grape vines. The seasonal flow of work begins now in spring time, and workers are needed through until Autumn 2021. There is plenty to do.
The traditional Kiwi Christmas might be a bit different this year, and many workers will have utilised annual leave during the various national Alert levels. Rather than heading for the beach or the crib, perhaps consider a working holiday for as long as you can spare. Businesses know they will need to be flexible.
Ministry of Social Development’s web initiative https://worktheseasons.co.nz is the gateway for job seekers to engage with Employers. Register now if you can. There is a very wide variety of work on offer.