Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman has reiterated the value of the country’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) programme, labelling it a “world-class” scheme.
Commenting after the results of the eighth annual RSE survey were released earlier this month, Chapman said the programme provided substantial benefits for RSE workers, their home countries and horticultural employers.
He moved to dispel what he referred to as “commonly held misapprehensions” that the RSE scheme with the Pacific Islands is a form of migration.
“The workers come to New Zealand for, on average, about six months, and then they return home,” Chapman explained in a blog on the Horticulture New Zealand website. “They do not migrate to New Zealand. But what they do is ensure that critical seasonal orchard and packhouse work is completed on time. Their contribution to New Zealand is financial, and they are a key part in ensuring that our growing horticulture exports add to New Zealand’s wealth.”
Chapman said another telling result from the RSE survey was more New Zealanders are also being employed in the horticultural sector. Close to 80 per cent of the 92 employers that answered the survey reported they had employed more full-time New Zealander workers, in addition to their RSE employees.
“This is not surprising, as in the last two years horticultural exports have grown by 40 per cent,” Chapman added. “A growing industry needs more permanent Kiwi workers, as well as a regular supply of skilled and reliable seasonal workers like those in the RSE scheme.”