What a deflating experience it was Friday reading watching listening to all those in the horticulture industry responding to the government’s 2,000 Recognised Seasonal worker decision.
The manipulation I would like to think hasn’t passed most of us by.
The shabby and shoddy way these farmers are being treated is really an outrage dressed up as a solution.
They all said basically what they had to say when you’re dealing with the government and afraid to say what you really think for fear of your livelihood being stuffed completely.
The 2,000 workers is a good start, they said. What they really mean is at 2,000, we are at least 11,000 short and you’re delusional view that thousands of unemployed New Zealanders are falling over themselves to climb a ladder and pick apples merely shows what a bunch of ideologically driven unionised sheltered idiots you are.
To be fair to the government, the accommodation incentives are not bad ideas. Even the idea of tossing a grand at a local who hangs in there for six weeks I can probably live with.
But as I tried to explain through stats and facts last week, the simple reality is we require rightly or wrongly large swathes of foreign labour, not just in the fields of this country but in the kitchens, on trucks and tractors, in labs and offices.
Over 660 different job types are on the skills shortage list.
What the government are doing is playing a dangerous game using Covid as an excuse.
We can’t bring in anymore because there isn’t space, they say.
Crap! The miniscule space we’ve set aside and refused to grow isn’t full at the best of times, and they refuse to grow it at all
The industry, in fact, a number of industry’s are falling over themselves, pleading to be allowed to offer their own isolation facilities to expand capacity, and the government keeps saying no. And they say no because it suits their agenda.
They have a gun to the heads of various industries: pay more or you get nothing. They’re trying to reinvent the makeup of the work force and it won’t work because it’s never worked and a pandemic driven smoke screen isn’t changing that.
It’s a crime that a government in an agricultural country is prepared to watch hundreds of millions of dollars of produce potentially rot and waste just to gerrymander their agenda by holding the farmers of this country to ransom.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.
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