Extra labour has arrived from overseas to help with repairs
to almost 800 irrigators damaged by last month's wind storms
IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said Immigration
New Zealand had provided invaluable assistance with
fast-tracking the paperwork to allow specialists to be
brought in from overseas.
Last week, with short notice, four centre pivot technicians
arrived from South Africa, to work for Ashburton's Rainer
Rainer Irrigation assistant manager Lucas Cawte said the
sheer workload resulting from the wind damage far exceeded
the company's resources for a quick turnaround and employing
overseas staff would significantly reduce downtime for
Rainer Irrigation had fixed about a quarter of the irrigators
on its books but those repairs did not represent the scale of
damage the company had seen, he said.
Immigration New Zealand's Christchurch assistant area manager
Steve Jones, said the department was happy to expedite the
application process for overseas workers.
The Christchurch branch was selected to be the point of
contact for processing the relevant applications and as such
was able to advise on the type of applications and where they
should be lodged, he said. Having one point of contact for
IrrigationNZ and the various irrigation companies had proved
very effective, he said.
''We consider requests for urgent processing on a
case-by-case basis and, where there are compelling reasons,
we will prioritise the processing of applications lodged.
''This was clearly a situation where time was of the essence
and we agreed to prioritise applications accordingly,'' Mr
Mr Cawte said companies were still waiting on parts to come
into the country.
''One container has arrived from Australia where we cleared
out their stock and another container is due shortly from the
''Our suppliers have really come to the party as we
originally thought it would take six to eight weeks to get
Farmers had been understanding in the face of the scale of
repairs the industry was facing, Mr Cawte said.
''Many are helping where they can by providing us with
telelifters and other machinery and throwing their own
manpower at the job. But it is early days still.''