New Zealand still short of labor

A farmer has been forced to plow more than 300,000 heads of fresh lettuce into the ground because he cannot find enough workers to harvest them manually.

Farm labor woes come on the back of the Government announced that the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.3% in the three months to the end of September.

In October, vegetable prices were up 17% on the year before. The average price of 1kg of lettuce was $6.43, Stats NZ said, up from $5.39 a year earlier and $3.64 the year before that.

The farmer said he used to employ RSE workers, but he was not able to get any anymore. He has given up on local labor as he has advertised but had no response, according to www.stuff.co.nz.

The Government will allow a further 3000 seasonal workers into New Zealand as part of the RSE scheme, despite recent concerns about work and living conditions.

Working holiday visa workers, recently allowed back into the country, had relieved a lot of pressure on the farm, but a lot of the accommodation that was available for backpackers before the pandemic had closed down.


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