Tailor-made seasonal solutions the way forward

  • Rick Barker
Social Development and Employment

At today's launch of Alexandra's 'one-stop seasonal shop', Minister responsible for Work and Income Rick Barker congratulated the region for embracing this opportunity to co-ordinate Immigration, Work and Income and local business in preparation for a good season.

Seasonal Solutions is the first step in delivering a consistent labour supply to Central Otago growers for the 2004/05 season.

"The new team made up of representatives from Work and Income, Immigration Service, Inland Revenue, Central Employment Trust (CET), will work to match hundreds of seasonal workers to jobs, operating with a kiwis first policy, but also assisting tourists to gain 'fast track' visas to do seasonal work," he said.

"I am confident this 'one stop seasonal shop' will lead to less frustration from growers and workers alike. The flow of work will be more certain and industry will be able to share information more easily.

"For example, if an orchardist is short a few people for a few weeks and then the workers are needed somewhere else, this ebb and flow of demand will in many ways be mapped out to avoid gaps.

"Employers are encouraged to give the Seasonal Solutions team a 'heads up' about their staffing needs in advance to get help on the way as soon as possible.

"This year I have heard what industry need and what Work and Income and Immigration can do. It is exciting to see the trust building," said Mr Barker.

John Allen, Work and Income Southern Regional Commissioner, said the new venture was an exciting development for the growth of the region and would ensure Central Otago had an economically sustainable long-term solution to seasonal labour.

“We’ll co-ordinate the labour needs of the growers and match with the channels of labour –students, backpackers, seniors and community groups. Central Otago is going to be the place to be for seasonal work," he said.

The free service would eventually become grower-owned and cover transport, child care, accommodation needs and career paths for seasonal workers.