Topics: Employment, Environment

Rotorua mum stops sons from seeking work in kiwifruit industry

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Rotorua mum Levi Leathers says there may be 1,200 jobs available in the kiwifruit industry. But she has stopped her sons from working in orchards because the money doesn't reflect the work. Levi Leathers loves kiwifruit but it has left a sour taste in her mouth.

“I have discouraged my sons from working in the orchards. It's not actually worth it, it's likened to slave labour. So the mahi that is done compared to the money that comes in is back braking mahi for a little bit of money.”

A seasonal labour shortage has been officially declared in the Bay of Plenty by The Ministry of Social Development.

But the Rotorua mum, who sends her two sons to get work in the orchards, says the work is inconsistent.

“Like this morning, the orchards were forested over so the person doesn't get pay that week and if there is a couple days like that consecutively, it's a major impact on their weekly wage.” 

Currently, those working in the kiwifruit industry can make from $25 to $17 an hour.

There are 300 seasonal jobs available now at SEEKA one of the industries large companies so why are we not taking advantage of these positions?

Workers for the kiwifruit industry are needed now up until June. But the industry says that the demand for workers is only going to increase in the coming seasons.