NEWS & EVENTS

At NZKGI, we aim to keep our grower community up-to-date with relevant industry news and key event information. See below for all of our latest industry news announcements and the details you need to know for our upcoming events.

Media Releases / December 14, 2018

Kiwifruit Industry’s big push for Seasonal Labour

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 December 2018

Kiwifruit Industry’s big push for Seasonal Labour

Labour shortage likely for BOP kiwifruit industry in 2019

  • Kiwifruit Industry launches attraction campaign for pickers and packers
  • New Labour Coordinator role for BOP kiwifruit industry formed with support from the Provincial Growth Fund, the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers

In 2018 the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit industry experienced a severe labour shortage at harvest with 1,200 vacancies unable to be filled. The kiwifruit industry considers that another labour shortage for the Bay of Plenty is likely in 2019. To mitigate the potential shortage, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) is employing a labour coordinator and have launched an attraction campaign to increase seasonal labour numbers.

The aim of the labour coordinator role is to attract additional workers and increase the coordination of available labour for harvest and winter pruning. The role will also establish sustainable labour sources to support the growth of the industry in the Bay of Plenty, where over 80% of kiwifruit is grown. New Zealanders will be given priority to work, particularly people from Work and Income. The labour coordinator role is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers and is expected to run through until the end of 2020.

NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson says, “Ensuring a sustainable supply of labour is the kiwifruit industry’s top priority. The growing appetite for our high quality, great tasting fruit, means we need more people to pick and pack. Luckily the Bay of Plenty with some of the most beautiful beaches is a very attractive area to come to work.”

In addition to the labour coordinator role, the kiwifruit industry has also recently launched an attraction campaign to attract more pickers and packers to work in the Bay of Plenty between April and June. The campaign focuses on backpackers, retirees, students and the unemployed and has already started with articles aimed at backpackers placed throughout European media. The campaign is supported by kiwifruit industry stakeholders under the BOP Labour Governance Group.

“New Zealand kiwifruit production will increase from 123 million trays in 2017 to 190 million trays by 2027. To meet this demand the industry will need more than 7,000 additional seasonal workers over the next 10 years”, says Nikki.

The increased labour demand stems from industry expansion coupled with low unemployment as well as a lack of backpackers and international students. In addition to the labour coordinator role and attraction strategy, NZKGI is working on a range of other topics to improve the labour situation. This includes the consistency of seasonal work, accommodation, welfare, transport and perception of pay rates.

  • ENDS

 

Facts & Figures

  • The total impact of kiwifruit production on the BOP region for the year 2015/2016 was $1.97b revenue. Source: Uni Waikato Report
  • Kiwifruit industry growth is expected to increase BOP GDP from 867m to 2.04b by the 2029/30 year. Source: Uni Waikato Report
  • The Bay of Plenty can expect an additional 300 RSE workers in 2019 in addition to the around 2,000 RSE workers in 2018. Source NZKGI Labour Needs Analysis

 

Contact

Mike Murphy

Communications Manager

07 574 7139

mike.murphy@nzkgi.org.nz

PO Box 4246 Mount Maunganui South 3149

 

 About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) works to advocate, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. We represent kiwifruit growers, giving them their own voice in industry and government decision making.

 

Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand’s largest fresh horticultural export, with sales in 2017/18 of NZ$2.3 billion. This represents the value of almost half of all New Zealand’s horticulture exports. In 2017/18 over 2,500 growers sold 123 million trays of kiwifruit to over 50 markets. The industry is experiencing strong growth which is expected to continue over the coming years.

 

Our headquarters in the Bay of Plenty, the geographic heart of the kiwifruit industry, is the central hub for the NZKGI Executive Committee, Forum members and staff.

 

More information about our portfolios of Industry Stability, Performance, Communications, Labour & Education, External Relations and Organisational Management can be found on our website: www.nzkgi.org.nz