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Seasonal worker cap lifted before harvest

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016 Sean Martin

<span style="font-size:13px;">The government has increased the cap on seasonal workers by 1000 ahead of the next horticulture and viticulture harvest season.</span> © Bonita Cooke/Getty Images The government has increased the cap on seasonal workers by 1000 ahead of the next horticulture and viticulture harvest season. An extra 1000 seasonal workers are expected to come to New Zealand to work in the horticulture and viticulture sector in the coming season.

The government has announced it will increase the current cap of 9500 to 10,500 Regional Seasonal Workers.

According to the industry an extra 2500 seasonal workers are needed for the upcoming season, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said, announcing the cap increase with Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

"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," Mr Woodhouse said.

Horticulture New Zealand welcomed the decision saying it would bring much needed relief to the industry.

"While the horticulture industry is strongly focused on getting New Zealanders into permanent work, at harvest time it is essential to have extra hands to get crops out of the fields and onto the consumers' plates quickly," chief executive Mike Chapman said.

Ms Tolley said progress was being made employing Kiwis in the industry, with 500 already taking part in the New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme.

Last year 4000 people were placed in the agriculture industry by the Ministry of Social Development, she said.

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