The region's economy is on the cusp of greatness.

This week the latest ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard read that we're sitting on 4 stars (whatever that means), just short of a 5-star rating (whatever that means). We are the nation's "sixth best" economy (whatever that means).

Whatever it means, it's undoubtedly positive.

After all, we've topped house-price growth which means we're becoming an increasingly desirable place to be. Retail sales are up significantly, as are car sales.


But what stood out like the proverbial was the absence of a corresponding growth in the labour market.

Ironic then that the same day this report was released this week, the Ministry of Social Development declared a seasonal labour shortage in Hawke's Bay.

There's something not quite right with this scenario. There's a huge apple crop looming and no shortage of able bodies — just a shortage of willing bodies.

It's no wonder the major horticultural players choose to export jobs and employ hordes of foreign seasonal workers.

The wages received are regarded by these workers as generous. But locals don't want them.

It highlights many things — not least of which is the gaping disparity in our respective standards of living.

Where to from here? Do we employ more overseas workers or stop planting trees?

Thing is, if there's decent coin to be made from bumper crops, surely the wages should reflect that.

As it stands, one of the main drivers of our rockstar economy is in crisis - with its potential windfall precluded by a shortfall.