Growth prompts sur­vey

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

STAFF RE­PORTER

Sig­nif­i­cant growth in the hor­ti­cul­ture and viti­cul­ture sec­tors in Cen­tral Otago has prompted the need for up-to-date in­for­ma­tion on crop plant­ings and as­so­ci­ated labour de­mand.

The Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil has part­nered with sec­tor groups to co­or­di­nate a labour sur­vey over the next few weeks to cap­ture in­for­ma­tion.

The 2018 Cen­tral Otago Labour Mar­ket Sur­vey will build on the in­for­ma­tion ob­tained from a 2015 sur­vey.

This ear­lier sur­vey pointed to strong growth in the hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly for ap­ples and cher­ries. Anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests that the past three years have seen growth in new plant­ings, with plans for even more. There is also a move to­wards con­sol­i­da­tion of hold­ings into larger en­ti­ties, and peo­ple and com­pa­nies mov­ing into the sec­tor from out­side the re­gion.

Other ear­lier find­ings pointed to a sig­nif­i­cant short­age of worker ac­com­mo­da­tion of all types with an ad­di­tional 600 back­packer beds re­quired by 2018/19. The 2015 re­port high­lighted labour sup­ply as an on­go­ing and grow­ing fragility in the sec­tor.

Cen­tral Otago Labour Mar­ket Gov­er­nance Group Chair Stephen Jef­fery said na­tional growth in hor­ti­cul­tural and viti­cul­ture plant­ings are pro­jected and this could prove prob­lem­atic for the lo­cal labour sup­ply.

Cen­tral Otago Mayor Tim Cado­gan said given the con­tin­ued strong growth in Cen­tral Otago it was es­sen­tial the coun­cil, busi­ness own­ers and de­vel­op­ers had ac­cu­rate data on which to base their busi­ness de­ci­sions.

‘‘I en­cour­age all grow­ers and con­trac­tors to par­tic­i­pate.’’

The sur­vey is be­ing funded jointly by the New Zealand Fruit­grow­ers Char­i­ta­ble Trust, Cen­tral Otago Wine­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Sea­sonal So­lu­tions Co­op­er­a­tive Ltd and Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil.

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