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Media Releases / Critical labour shortage report presented to Government

Critical labour shortage report presented to Government


 1 August 2018

 Critical labour shortage report presented to Government


  • 7,000 additional seasonal workers required by 2027
  • Potential workers unaware of improved payrates
  • RSE workers crucial to fulfil short term labour needs
  • Report presented to Government officials for discussion


Prior to the 2018 harvest, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) recognised severe labour shortages were likely for the kiwifruit industry over the next decade. As it happened, the industry was 1,200 staff short at the start of the 2018 harvest – the predicted labour shortage hit earlier and more severely than anticipated.

Without intervention, the shortages experienced this year will become even more severe as the kiwifruit industry strives to take advantage of increased global demand for a product quickly becoming a fruit bowl favourite. In 2027, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is forecast to produce 190 million trays of kiwifruit, up from 123 million trays in 2017.

To bring Government up to date on industry progress on finding solutions to the labour shortage, NZKGI published a report that quantifies the potential shortage and outlines the challenges the industry faces in securing staff. The report identifies a number of areas for industry to focus on to attract more seasonal workers.

NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson says, “While the 2018 labour shortage was worrying for the industry, the situation will escalate significantly if no action is taken. The kiwifruit industry is growing quickly and NZKGI is committed to progressing the discussion on solutions that can mitigate the risks of labour shortages.”

“To take advantage of the growing appetite for kiwifruit, the industry’s efforts to attract people to pick, pack and prune will need to be complemented in the medium to long term by Government support to ensure a sustainable workforce for kiwifruit industry growth.”


To read the report, click here