[09 April/Stuff NZ]

The kiwifruit industry is in search for a number of workers to harvest fruit for the six to eight week season peak. The Ministry of Social Development has declared a shortage of workers for the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit harvest. The kiwifruit industry is just starting its main season with the industry expecting to be short 3800 workers by the peak of the harvest. 90 percent of fruit still needs to be picked. The Hawke’s Bay existing labour shortage for its apple harvest has been extended an extra six weeks. Pay rates for kiwifruit picking had increased to an average $23.50 an hour this season. Most low-skilled pack house roles were paid minimum wage, which rose to $17.70 an hour on 01 April.