[13 March/NZ Herald]

The Ministry of Social Development has declared a seasonal labour shortage across Hawke’s Bay in the midst of the bumper apple and pear season. East Coast Regional Commissioner, Annie Aranui, said the declaration was for the March 12 to April 6 period. She added that they would continue to support jobseekers still facing unemployment to enter the horticulture industry and that they were running specialised seminars to identify and refer jobseekers. New Zealand Apples and Pears supported the labour shortage declaration. Their Chief Executive, Alan Pollard, said the region’s apple and pear industry was at full capacity, harvesting this year’s crop. Hawke’s Bay Season Labour Group Chair, Gary Jones, noted that the strong Hawke’s Bay economy and low unemployment meant the industry had to compete for workers.