Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Te Puke and is getting a guided tour through Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore.

Kiwifruit industry leaders from Zespri, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc and Kiwifruit Vine Health have also joined her, as well as Labour MPs Tamati Coffey and Angie Warren-Clark, for the walk through.

Ardern thanked the kiwifruit workers and the primary industry that carried on through the Covid-19 crisis, and said they just got on and hired workers from other industries.

She said she was looking forward to seeing the plant but said "don't put me on any machinery". She said her grandparents used to have a kiwifruit orchard before moving into avocados.

Advertisement
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak

On average, nationally the kiwifruit industry employs about 20,000 seasonal workers and this year, due to border closures, New Zealand workers displaced by Covid-19 have consequently found jobs in the sector.

Ardern said alongside the industry, Government is supporting retraining programmes to support even more Kiwis coming into the industry at the time when we needed jobs the most.

"Ultimately what you're seeing here is the industry responding to the fact that they need to find workers and have Kiwis that are available. The important part of the mix is pay rates that are attracting people into this field of work".

Two employees, Awinder Kaur and Kirwan Garccha spoke about the wellness program at Treveylans and said they had lost 20kgs between them with the Ardern commenting it was more like a health camp, not work

Awinder Kaur, left, and Kirwan Garccha. Photo / Carmen Hall
Awinder Kaur, left, and Kirwan Garccha. Photo / Carmen Hall

Bay of Plenty Times reported earlier today kiwifruit volumes have continued to increase as more gold kiwifruit licences are released and tomorrow Zespri will announce its forecast for this season - which is expected to be another strong year.

READ MORE:
Bay of Plenty kiwifruit growers take fight against Psa ruling to Supreme Court
Dame Susan Devoy packs kiwifruit like a champ in lockdown job
More money to be pumped into Bay of Plenty kiwifruit after bumper season

Letters: PM's handling of pandemic demonstrates lack of understanding
Letters to the editor: Will PM suffer similar fate to Churchill?
Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiri Gillespie: Ardern has made the right decision

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden arrives at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden arrives at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak

The Prime Minister's visit coincides with an industry that has done remarkably well considering the challenges it has faced, sector experts said.

Trevelyan's director James Trevelyan said the visit from Ardern was exciting.

Advertisement
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Trevelyan's kiwifruit and avocado packhouse and coolstore this morning. Photo / George Novak

In the past Trevelyan's has made the news for its strong commitment to sustainability and environmental practices which it had picked up awards for.

This year Trevelyan said the packhouse had processed about 16 million trays of kiwifruit and it had been another successful season.

Sarkar Dufkova from the Czech Republic has been at packhouse on a working holiday for last two months. Photo / Carmen Hall
Sarkar Dufkova from the Czech Republic has been at packhouse on a working holiday for last two months. Photo / Carmen Hall

Sarkar Dufkova from the Czech Republic has been at packhouse on a working holiday for last two months. She said it had been a great experience and planned to travel around New Zealand and return next year.

"I have liked learning about kiwifruit and how this company operates," she said.

She had also embraced the Kiwi culture. Today was her last day at the company.

More to come.

Advertisement