We are in changing times and who could have imagined even last week what we would be facing today as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb.
The kiwifruit industry grappled with a labour shortage last year and it is likely to be repeated again as non-residents can no longer enter the country.
In the peak of the season, which hits in the beginning of May, the industry estimates it will have 20,000 seasonal jobs primarily in the Bay of Plenty. The sector is screaming out for workers.
As reported today, about 50 per cent of the seasonal kiwifruit workforce is from overseas. These workers enter the country under the Regional Seasonal Employment scheme or are backpackers looking to cash in on their holiday.
Most are already here but Immigration New Zealand estimates 4000 did not make it before the border closed.
This could be problematic as the industry prepares to pick, pack and export the biggest crop on record.
Many may argue that a labour shortage is a small price to pay when thousands of Kiwis in tourism, hospitality and forestry no longer have jobs.
Covid-19 has brought many businesses to their knees, thrown others into turmoil and forced some to shut their doors.
There is no doubt people are under huge stress and anxiety as we deal with the unknown and the craziness which comes with it all.
But I applaud the kiwifruit sector for reaching out to those people who have lost their jobs. The call is being put out by industry leaders and packhouse chief executives to offer seasonal employment and people can start now at sites across the Bay of Plenty.
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According to Seek there were also jobs in other industries including supermarkets, healthcare, medical, storage and distribution.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc chief executive Nikki Johnson says its shortage is particularly focused around nightshifts in packhouses.
She also says very rarely do growers see such potential risk and reward within one harvest.
It is important we do our utmost to keep the kiwifruit supply chains open and I hope those people reeling from losing their jobs consider taking up some of these opportunities.
There are jobs right now. The kiwifruit industry needs you.