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Labour Lacks Commonsense On Immigration

Posted on 28 Oct 2004

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Immigration Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded to know when the Labour Government would see sense and introduce a limited purposes visa to allow foreign fruit-pickers to work in New Zealand.

“Immigration Minister Paul Swain has today confirmed that plans to revamp Labour’s skilled migrant scheme would not include provisions to allow migrant fruit-pickers to work in New Zealand,” Dr Newman said.

“The Minister has shown that his Government is turning its back on the New Zealand horticultural sector which, in the past, has relied on migrant workers to fill seasonal labour needs – and which has long called for more enlightened immigration policies.

“Labour has responded to this sector by telling growers to hire backpackers, tourists, students and WINZ clients – despite experience showing that this is far from being a viable option.

“Backpackers, students and WINZ workers often move on before the season ends.  Without their migrant workforce – who are skilled in planting, pruning, picking, and who stay for the entire season before returning to their home country – growers are being left with fruit rotting on the trees because there are not enough suitable workers for harvesting.

“To date, the Labour Government has ignored their plight.  I am calling on Mr Swain to show some leadership and commonsense by introducing a limited purposes visa for horticulture work.  It’s time for some real management in immigration,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS

Dr Muriel Newman MP                    
muriel.newman@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6633  /  021 800 111
Fax:                 04 473 3532

Chas Te Runa, Press Secretary
chas.te.runa@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6648  /  027 289 4080