Hawke's Bay fruitgrowers are hoping for an extra 1000 Recognised Seasonal Employer workers for the next season.
New Zealand Apples and Pears CEO Alan Pollard said next season's numbers had not been set yet, but the industry was hoping for an extra 1000.
He said allocating the needed RSE workers would also help businesses who don't hire RSEs, because other forms of labour could be reallocated to them.
He said the industry needed long-term certainty around RSE numbers, to ensure they could invest in infrastructure, including accommodation, to alleviate housing pressure on the rest of the community.
Trade, strategy and policy manager at NZ Apples and Pears Gary Jones said Hawke's Bay was about 2000 workers short during the most recent season, and without an increase in RSE numbers the shortage was expected to top 2000 for the upcoming season.
"This is about half the number the industry needs for Hawke's Bay to actually pick the crop."
Jones said it would take several years to rebalance the "damaging" labour shortage the industry had developed.
He said one of the challenges Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway had set the industry was to provide accommodation for seasonal workers without negatively affecting New Zealand families.
Jones said the Angus Inn and prefabricated housing on Omahu Rd were good examples of accommodation which housed RSE workers over the season, but were also used for emergency accommodation for Kiwis.
Last Friday, industry leaders and Hastings District Council met with Lees-Galloway to discuss the issue.
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Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said accommodating RSE workers put significant pressure on the housing sector each year.
She said the district council had consents for 200 extra beds for the upcoming season, but there would still be a shortfall.
"It's vital we work together with central government and the industry to have a plan on how we're going to house our seasonal workers as well as meet the accommodation needs of our whole community.
"The need to provide RSE workers somewhere to live is contributing to the major housing shortage we're facing in our district.
"Recent changes to the council's District Plan are designed to help relieve some of that pressure by allowing accommodation for seasonal workers to be built on orchards and in light industrial areas.
"However, orchardists need certainty around long-term RSE contracts if they are going to invest in on-site accommodation for their seasonal workers."
She said Friday's meeting provided an opportunity to look at how to provide that certainty in the long term.
Immigration New Zealand national skills and investment manager Matt Hoskin confirmed that the previous season Hawke's Bay had 4412 RSE workers approved to work in the region.
"Applications for the 2019/2020 season are only just starting to be submitted to Immigration New Zealand for processing.
"It is too early to tell how many workers will be approved for Hawke's Bay in the upcoming season."