Increase in seasonal workers for RSE

  • Michael Woodhouse
  • Anne Tolley
Social Development Immigration

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced an increase in the number of seasonal workers who can come to New Zealand to work in the horticulture and viticulture industry under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

The current cap will be increased by 1,000 from 9,500 to 10,500 RSE workers for the 2016-17 season.

Mr Woodhouse says the horticulture and viticulture industry is New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry, producing almost $5 billion in exports.

“The industry has forecast an additional 2,500 workers will be needed for the upcoming season,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“The increase of 1,000 RSE workers shows the Government is committed to enabling the industry to continue to grow and maximise export returns, while ensuring jobs aren’t being taken from New Zealanders.”

Ministers say the increase has been made on the understanding that the industry continues to maximise opportunities for New Zealanders, particularly in regions with relatively high unemployment.

Mrs Tolley says significant progress has already been made on employing New Zealanders in the industry.

“Around 500 beneficiaries have already taken part in the New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme and a significant number have not gone back on a benefit,” Mrs Tolley says.

“In 2015, MSD placed over 4,000 people in the agriculture industry across New Zealand, which includes the horticulture and viticulture industries. HortNZ figures show that this sector employs around 60,000 people annually.

“To build on this, the Ministry of Social Development is developing new initiatives with employers and other stakeholders to further increase the number of New Zealanders working in the industry.”