Here's Kate's update on the work she's been representing the summerfruit sector in recently along with some timely reminders for growers...
One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu
While the recent further announcement from the Government about quarantine-free travel was welcome, RSE employers are understandably very keen to know the details, such as when they can begin to recruit workers. The Industry Collective is still waiting for some critical government decisions on flight dates and the required health protocols for arriving RSE workers. Meanwhile, work continues on the allocation of workers over time and between employers. RSE employers are receiving regular communication about this.
Fruit Fly Operational Agreement (FFOA) – progress with negotiating the new term of the agreement
The current FFOA sets out how industry and government will work together and cost-share readiness and response activities relating to the four most common fruit flies. The term of this five-year agreement is due to finish shortly, so the signatories, including Summerfruit NZ, are negotiating the terms of a new agreement, such as cost-shares and other operational details. I am attending the working group meetings on behalf of the summerfruit sector, and will keep you informed of progress. We are currently discussing the methodology and cost-shares have not yet been agreed in principle.
PickNZ job board reminder
Employers, please remember to visit the PickNZ Job Board and register your business in preparation for the coming season. This site gives seasonal employees and jobseekers looking to work in horticulture a great new place to find jobs, and is the result of the horticulture sector coming together to develop a resource specifically tailored for people wanting to find seasonal work opportunities in horticulture.
SummerGreen meeting cancelled
Due to the Alert Level 2 status and the uncertainty around alert level changes, we unfortunately had to cancel the SummerGreen meeting that was scheduled for 28 September in Clyde. If there is an opportunity to reschedule this in October or early November, under Alert Level 1 conditions, we will do so. In the meantime, here’s a link to the Central Otago Fruit Growers' Association meeting discussing various seasonal labour initiatives held on 9 September.
Be prepared for Covid-19 alert level changes during the harvest season
Product groups who are currently in their harvest seasons, such as vegetables, kiwifruit and avocados, have had to meet stringent health protocols and prove essential worker status in order to move their produce across the border on the north and south sides of Auckland. This is an important reminder to the summerfruit sector that we also need to be well organised for a Covid-19 alert level change during the harvest season. Summerfruit NZ will circulate advice soon about these protocols and how they apply to the summerfruit sector, in the unwelcome possibility that we are under lockdown again during the summer.