Monday, 16 April 2018 07:55

Government putting farms in jeopardy

Written by 
Steve Levet. Steve Levet.

Getting crops sown and harvested and other farm work done this year could be in jeopardy unless the Government moves quickly, warns the group representing agricultural contractors in New Zealand.

Businesses wanting to place overseas workers in jobs not on the Government’s skills shortage list must go to Immigration NZ (INZ) with an Approval in Principle (AIP) request.

Rural Contractors NZ says its members who are seeking overseas workers are still waiting on the AIP applications to be assessed or allocated. RCNZ wants to bring in 325 farm machine operators this year.

President Steve Levet says INZ is making it difficult for employers to hire skilled overseas labour. Rural contractors need seasonal labour up to six months a year, he says.

“The Government is shagging us around something chronic about this AIP,” Levet says. “The guys we require are highly trained on the machinery they are using.”

Levet says pay rates are about $20 an hour and each machine is typically worth up to $500,000.

“The Government seems to think you can just pluck someone off the street to fill these positions.”

Levet says rural contractors would prefer to take on local workers, but there simply aren’t the numbers around, particularly in small rural communities.


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