Shortage fears proving justified

Federated Farmers’ concerns about the serious shortage of experienced agricultural machinery operators is proving justified as summer approaches.

A shortage of experienced operators is being felt across rural New Zealand, and the pressure is building on both farmers and rural contractors, Feds immigration and employment spokesman Chris Lewis says.

"Unfortunately, we all saw this coming a long way out. Federated Farmers has repeatedly explained the implications of having no international seasonal rural workers to the Immigration, Primary Industries and Workplace Relations and Safety Ministers, the primary production select committee and the CEO of WorkSafe.

"The shortage is leaving both contractors and farmers in the lurch and we have serious concerns for the coming season," Chris said.

"Without enough operators the industry is facing a loss of production and contractors are facing health and safety risks, both through long hours worked by the staff available and being forced to put inexperienced operators in charge of machinery."

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