The interim liquidation of an agricultural training school could lead to a shortage of farm workers who may demand more pay to work in Northland farms, a farming consultant says.
Tafi Manjala said losing education provider Taratahi in a region like Northland with a lot of youth unemployment was a setback for primary industries as farmers took students from that training institute for practical experience.
His comments followed an announcement that Taratahi has been placed in interim liquidation by the High Court after facing financial and operational pressures caused by declining student numbers resulting in a reduction in its funding.
Taratahi is an agricultural education provider in New Zealand and employs 250 staff and manages eight farms. This year, it has provided education to more than 2500 students.
It has two non-resident campuses in Whangārei and Mangonui but interim liquidator David Ruscoe was not in a position to say how many staff Taratahi employs in Northland and the number of students currently employed.
"The voluntary liquidation adds further to a shortage of staff on farms in general. The effect of that would be a tighter labour market in the primary sector which means demand for labour will force people to pay more to employ farm workers in Northland," Manjala said.
"So there will be implications in terms of labour supply unless other providers like NorthTec can absorb the Taratahi students."
NorthTec offers level 3 courses in certificate in agriculture and fencing and level 5 in diploma in agribusiness management.
Another Northland tertiary education provider People Potential used to offer introductory courses in farming in the past.
Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor said the Government would continue to work on a plan to deliver a new approach to agrisector training that met the needs of the industry now and into the future.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the timing of the voluntary liquidation was tough, especially for staff and students of Taratahi.
The Tertiary Education Commission would work alongside Taratahi, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and StudyLink to ensure affected students were supported through alternative study options, he said.
Taratahi's assets, and those it manages on behalf of others are worth over $100 million, and has 42,000 stock units of sheep, beef and deer and milk 2000 cows in New Zealand.