Staff short as calving begins

Immigration restrictions are continuing to be a headache as calving starts in North Canterbury.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury senior vice-president Rebecca Green said she had endured a 60-day wait to get a farm worker approved by Immigration New Zealand to work on the Cheviot farm she contract milks with husband Blair, after no locals applied for the position.

On the positive side, the Government’s relaxing of visa rules meant a farm worker they already employed has had his visa extended from 12 to 24 months, ‘‘which is really great’’, she said.

‘‘It’s tough for a lot of people. It’s just very stressful and very hard for my husband and our workers who are having to carry the extra load.

‘‘A lot of farmers don’t have the workers that they need, but we just have to soldier on and get through.’’

Despite the drought and the recent heavy rain events, Ms Green said the farm was ready for calving after some late-season grass growth and the cows were in good condition.

‘‘Calving is under way and if we don’t get too many more adverse weather events, we will be fine.

‘‘That second lot of rain probably hit Hurunui worse than the [May 31] flood event, but we have just got to try to do the best we can.

‘‘We still care about our animals and our people, so it’s about making sure we are all OK.’’

A netball injury meant Ms Green was out of action for calving, but she had managed to find some casual workers to step in.

‘‘But otherwise everything is looking good.’’

While the farm was next to both the Hurunui and Greta rivers, it had come through the rain events without too much damage, aside from the Greta River flooding a pump, some debris and broken fences.


I'm wondering why one farmer awaiting a foreign worker warrants a newspaper article? especially as it has been approved already.
Most NZer's demand that our Govt carefully test any application for immigration work permits to ensure that employment opportunities are not being denied to locals.
Yes this can be annoying for employers but they know the rules and plan accordingly and ensure that they make their applications in plenty of time. Ms Green's failure to plan properly is hardly news. Neither is it our fault, or the fault of the NZ Immigration Service. I'm pleased to see that the bureaucrats are doing their job thoroughly..
There is a vague suggestion that other farmers may be having difficulty recruiting NZ labour as well but no facts, at all, to support this dubious claim.
Really? Is there not some real news that David Hill could be investigating and reporting on?

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