In favourable news for New Zealand, around 2,000 Pacific workers are arriving in New Zealand. This will be considered as the first of Samoa’s 780 strong workers that are linked to the Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme. Moreover, this group of workers have successfully landed in Auckland this week.
Nevertheless, the rest of the group are scheduled to arrive on flights scheduled for Thursday. They have to spend 14 days in isolation after which they will be able to resume their work as usual. This is only possible because Samoa has had no reported COVID cases since late last year. Moreover, community transmission has also not occurred in this country.
This news has proved to be extremely favourable for the New Zealand farm owners as the shortage of workers proved to be extremely harmful. The harvest season has mainly been unproductive not because of the lack of supply but because of the dearth of Pacific workers.
Australia’s fruit and vegetable farmers need an extra 26,000 workers to harvest their crops this summer, according to new research illustrating the impact of coronavirus border closures on farm labour. The report, from consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY), is the first to quantify the worker shortfall in the farm sector, which is typically reliant on overseas workers since Australia closed its borders in March. It was commissioned by industry group Hort Innovation, and farm groups say it proves the need for governments to intervene to ensure the product is not wasted and food supply is not disrupted. The demand for seasonal workers to harvest and pack produce will peak in March next year.