New Zealand Apple and Pears chief executive Allan Pollard says the arrival of Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) workers in October, as opposed to September, is not a cause for concern for regions like Hawke's Bay.
Pollard said while two RSE flights have been deferred due to the lack of spaces in MIQ facilities, one-way quarantine-free travel was still on the cards.
His comments came after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) announced last week that MIQ facilities which were used to accommodate returnees from overseas were now being used for community cases.
"The Government has decided to extend the pause on the release and re-release of rooms for a short period until the situation becomes clearer," a statement from MBIE said.
"Stopping the spread of Covid-19 is important for both New Zealanders here and those overseas wanting to come home."
Pollard said the main season for growers didn't begin until October.
"For growers it's October to November (thinning season) and harvesting is February to March," he said.
"We are confident that flights will start soon."
He said last year the labour shortage in Hawke's Bay and other areas was keenly felt and he was hoping for a better outcome this year.
John Evans, RJ Flowers Ltd manager, said the delay required tolerance and understanding from the community.
"We are all in this together," he said.
"October is probably a better month for us anyway."
In August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that seasonal workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu would be allowed into the country without having to go into managed isolation from September.
Ardern announced that Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.
A spokesperson from Minister for Immigration Kris Faafoi's office told Stuff that negotiations were still progressing with Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu to establish the one-way quarantine-free travel for their RSE workers.
"We hope to have arrangements in place soon," he said.
"In the meantime, the horticulture and viticulture industries agreed to defer two RSE flights until quarantine-free travel arrangements are in place, in light of the current pressures we have on MIQ, with the current Covid Delta outbreak."