Rotorua Daily Post

By Carmen Hall, 9 June 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Te Puke and is getting a guided tour through Trevelyan’s kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore.

Kiwifruit industry leaders from Zespri, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc and Kiwifruit Vine Health have also joined her, as well as Labour MPs Tamati Coffey and Angie Warren-Clark, for the walk through.

Ardern thanked the kiwifruit workers and the primary industry that carried on through the Covid-19 crisis, and said they just got on and hired workers from other industries.

She said she was looking forward to seeing the plant but said “don’t put me on any machinery”. She said her grandparents used to have a kiwifruit orchard before moving into avocados.

On average, nationally the kiwifruit industry employs about 20,000 seasonal workers and this year, due to border closures, New Zealand workers displaced by Covid-19 have consequently found jobs in the sector.

Ardern said alongside the industry, Government is supporting retraining programmes to support even more Kiwis coming into the industry at the time when we needed jobs the most.

“Ultimately what you’re seeing here is the industry responding to the fact that they need to find workers and have Kiwis that are available. The important part of the mix is pay rates that are attracting people into this field of work”.

Two employees, Awinder Kaur and Kirwan Garccha spoke about the wellness program at Treveylans and said they had lost 20kgs between them with the Ardern commenting it was more like a health camp, not work.

Bay of Plenty Times reported earlier today kiwifruit volumes have continued to increase as more gold kiwifruit licences are released and tomorrow Zespri will announce its forecast for this season – which is expected to be another strong year.

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