Last year's collective apple crop was so big many orchardists had no choice but to leave apples on the trees.
Apparently, this was due to a dearth of pickers.
The projection that this year's volume will increase by 5 per cent somewhat compounds the problem. Even an increase in Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) workers from overseas to shore up the working masses may not be enough.
Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Lesley Wilson said earlier this week that the issue was worrying.
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"There is a lot on the trees and the region has an increase in employment - we need all the tools in the toolbox."
Grower and Horticulture New Zealand national seasonal labour co-ordinator Jerf van Beek said employers had to jump through hoops to successfully apply for more RSE workers.
Surely the Government needs to redress this. The irony is, barriers to allowing more foreign workers have ostensibly been imposed because the Government deems Hawke's Bay to have high unemployment.
What a bizarre impasse. One wonders what the RSE workers think of our work ethic. These hard-working foreigners elect to spend most of the year away from families to send money home.
In light of the labour shortage, and locals' ostensible aversion to Hydraladas, the theory subscribed to by many that the RSE workers are robbing Kiwis of jobs simply doesn't stack up.
The deadlock, as it stands, fuels the opposite theory. That is, there are many locals who, rather than elect to work, elect to remain unemployed.