[1 March/The Country]

Although a bumper crop of Hawke’s Bay apples is being harvested early this year, there were fears a labour shortage could leave thousands of apples unpicked. A spokeswoman for Bostock said they have a good quality crop and that it was going to be a bumper season, however labour shortages meant they were picking less than they should be. A Scales spokeswoman said the labour shortage did not affect their operations. Scales Chairman, Tim Goodacre, noted that in spite of the wet weather in the region, early signs were positive. NZ Apples and Pears Chief Executive, Allan Pollard, said there was outstanding quality fruit in the region and reaffirmed that the main challenge was around labour. Tukituki National MP, Lawrence Yule, explained that he believed the government needed to be more liberal with Recognised Seasonal Employer workers.