RSE announcement a welcome reprieve

Date Added: 27th November 2020 from


Business Central has welcomed the Government's decision to allow an extra 2,000 seasonal workers into New Zealand in early 2021.

"The horticulture and wine industry have been calling for this announcement for several months now, so it is good to finally have some progress in this area," says, John Milford, Chief Executive of Business Central.

"This will take the total number of Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers in New Zealand to just under 7,000. While that is a significant number, it is nowhere near the number we usually have around this time of year.

"It is a good first step and hopefully this announcement acts as a bit of momentum when it comes to getting more critical workers into the country.

"We’d like to see a resumption in the full RSE scheme albeit with Covid quarantine protocols, given most of the Pacific Islands have been Covid-free for some time and many of their communities depend on the earnings they make while over here.

"The industry has responded to calls to increase pay and worker-support. Businesses have agreed to support RSE worker’s travel and quarantine, and agreed to pay at least the living wage.

"We will continue to work with the industry, MSD, and the Government to ensure that New Zealanders who want to work in this industry will get work. Our horticulture sector is still in desperate need for workers, despite this boost in numbers.

"Our organisation is also keen to support industry-funded MIQ facilities. I understand there has been some discussion around this topic. It would relieve pressure on both worker-shortages for a number of industries, and the Ministry-funded MIQ facilities currently being used to host all inbound travellers to New Zealand.

"If Minister [Chris] Hipkins (Minister for Covid-19 Response) believes the border could be closed for the next 12 to 18 months, then we need to look at ways to safely expand the capacity of our MIQ facilities.

"It has been a difficult 9 months so far, I couldn’t imagine what things will look like after 18 months without critical skills, international students, or seasonal workers."

ENDS