Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed changes to temporary work visas that simply the immigration system and recognise that overseas workers play a significant role in industries such as horticulture.
"The changes mean that it will be more straightforward to hire skilled workers from overseas to work in areas of New Zealand where there are few New Zealanders available for the work," says HortNZ chief executive, Mike Chapman.
"At the same time, the changes recognise the need to employ New Zealanders wherever possible but appreciate this is not always possible.
"New Zealand’s primary sector is worth more than $46 billion in exports a year. The temporary work visa changes will help ensure our growing industry has access to skilled workers, particularly at peak planting and harvest times."
Mike says HortNZ and other representative groups have been lobbying for changes to the current complex and unfair system for many years.
"The changes will take effect over the next couple of years as the detail is worked out with industry input.
"We will be working through the detail over the next couple of days and providing analysis to our grower members before the end of the week."