[04 March/Stuff]

Zero locals showed up for a meeting in Flaxmere based on gathering fruit picking workers. The meeting was held by the Hastings District Council who paired up with New Zealand Apples & Pears and the Ministry of Social Development to give information after a seasonal labour shortage was announced in February of around 300-400 people. Another information session was held in the Hastings suburb of Camberley and approximately 30 people attended. More sessions will be held in Flaxmere at more suitable times. New Zealand Apples & Pears spokesperson Gary Jones said that with a record crop and low unemployment Hawke’s Bay’s horticulture sectors were seeking to engage more closely with local communities. Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a great opportunity to use the council’s Flaxmere and Camberley community centres to bring people together to help with the pipfruit harvest.