FIVE AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Challenges remained with the RSE scheme despite 11 years of success and growth, Minister of Immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway told the conference.
“Issues remain such as low pay and poor conditions in the industry, accommodation quality and scarcity, pastoral care and reports of RSE workers being discouraged from organising collectively,” he said.
MBIE had begun an operational review of the scheme with a wider policy review expected next year.
“If you can address five issues then I will commit to making the RSE programme work better for you.
He challenged growers to do more to employ more New Zealanders, to work on automation and to consider paying workers more.
“Third, I am challenging you to think about the needs of your future workers. This means building accommodation for additional workers at the same time as you plant the extra crops.”
With there still being exploitation among the contracted workforce he wanted employers to take responsibility for their supply chains, and his last challenge was to share the successes and lessons of RSE with other industries.