October 06, 2020
Gold growers due come to Jesus moment on wages
Prayer is looming large as the election campaign nears the final sprint, and it’s not just politicians seeking help from on high.
New Zealand First Northland candidate Shane Jones says the horticulture industry is nearing a come to Jesus moment as it contemplates its future workforce.
In the absence of bespoke solutions at the border, growers can’t bring in cheap labour, so they need to offer better wages and conditions to get New Zealanders to pick their kiwifruit, apples and other fruits.
He says what kiwifruit growers pay their workers contrasts with the $400,000 a hectare for a licence to grow gold kiwifruit.
"They’re willing to meet inflated costs for the licenses but they are unwilling to substantially increase the wages for Kiwis and I suspect they are going to have that come to Jesus moment because I do not see a future Government opening up the floodgates for foreign workers to depress the wages for workers in our horticulture sector again,." Mr Jones says.
A someone who has sought to keep religiosity out of his politics, he won’t be campaigning on his relationship with god – but after the election he expects to be either a prodigal son or a prophet in the wilderness.
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