Restrictions on the movement of people, and imported and exported products are starting to affect the New Zealand economy, and will have an effect on horticulture according to Horticulture New Zealand.

The organisation has released a compilation of official advice to help growers understand and stay up to date with Coronavirus, and its actual or anticipated impact.

HortNZ is working with the chairs of the regional labour groups, the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) to assess the labour requirements that could be left unmet, as a result of global restrictions on the movement of people.

MSD and MBIE want to fill these gaps with people who are not currently in work in other industries like forestry, who have transferable skills relevant to horticulture.

“There are opportunities in the horticulture and wine industries for New Zealanders who no longer have work due to Coronavirus,” says HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman.

“Anyone in this position wanting work should contact local growers or visit Work the Seasons because we have important jobs that are available now.

“At the same time, given that one third of the food we eat in New Zealand is imported and our reliance on seasonal labour, the country needs to develop an active contingency, resilience and self-sufficiency plan. This is not just a role for Government. It is everyone’s responsibility to be part of a much needed resilience plan for New Zealand.”