Horticultural Industry having difficulty exploiting migrant workers? ANOTHER win for keeping the border closed!


Wait, WHAT?

Let me get this straight, on top of stopping the plague getting here and killing us, on top of stopping the hyper tourism that is destroying our country, on top of stopping the International Student market that competes for rentals with working class NZers, on top of all that, closing the border is also stopping the horticulture and agricultural industries from exploiting migrant workers???

Is pay the problem? How much in-demand orchard workers really earn

Paul Watkins, an experienced horticultural worker who has spent the last six years working for various agricultural companies in Hawke’s Bay, said he had never been on “top dollar”.

Workers were paid closer to minimum wage, he said. His most recent employer, Apatu, paid him $19.50 an hour, 60 cents above minimum wage.

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”I was only a fixed-term worker there. If I was a permanent I would most probably get a bit more in terms of wage. The work there is easy in terms of what orchard work is,” he said.

So the horticultural industry will have to actually start paying NZ worker wages and not exploitative migrant worker rates?




Watching the hyper tourism industry, the exploitative worker industry and the exploitative international student industry unable to pollute, over crowd, under pay, cause traffic gridlocks and put downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on rents is the greatest silver lining of this pandemic.

I love this so much, the Death Cult Capitalists who exploit are screaming and it’s music to my ears!

They keep telling me as I move around my city without the gridlock and the landlords with no power to hurt that it’s terrible, yet it feels good.

It feels right.





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  1. Law of unintended consequences – you won’t feel so good when avocados are $8 each and carrots are $18 for a dozen. Doesn’t really work into the ‘ban meat’ scenario that we are lurching towards either.

    I’d really want to know the answer on this one on the basis bankrupting the horticultural farmer isn’t one.

    • Maybe if more people in NZ were on higher wages overall, we could afford to buy our own food that has been harvested with labour that is not underpaid or cash.

      Time to start to go back to pre Rogernomics days when people actually had a vege garden. And the food is better for you!

      As for fruit and veg in NZ, go to Countdown, much of the fruit and veg is from Australia and that has been grown with higher wages in OZ but still gets imported here.

        • Normally business focuses more on “matching supply to demand” and not “demand to supply” because regulating demand is very very difficult. Airlines do both regularly because unlike agriculture airlines can not regulate supply that well because airlines can’t fluctuate their supply to match demand entirely. So small changes in passenger numbers aren’t worth it to carry slightly fuller flights. Therefore instead of rapidly matching supply with demand, airlines match demand with supply and we saw that when AirNZ cut domestic flights. And this is all evieidnce that demand is being supressed.

        • ” That’s why the quality of F&V at CD is crap ”
          Yes and if you have seen the extortion currently being practiced by Progressive and Foodies it is expensive crap.

      • Actually a huge chunk of FRUIT AND VEGE at Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value sells is NZ grown and only imported out of season. As for pak n slave I refuse to shop there. Slave labour wages and boss abuse and 10 of the top 20 millionaires in NZ are PAK N SAVE OWNERS AND THEY STILL PAY MINIMUM WAGE to their workers. In fact one foodstuffs owner even refused to have a wage rate included in a workers contract and had to be taken to the employment court . So so much for a co operative being NZ owned by nz owners . They are the most exploitive of all NZ supermarkets and corner stores grocers.

  2. Yep, the other thing to do to ensure these miserable employers get the labour they need is simple: Abolish all WINZ/MSD stand downs/abatements/sanctions so that people can move seamlessly, with out penalty or inconvenience, between paid work and income support, or income support with part time income.

    Plus growers should provide reasonable standard accomodation and regional transport, that plus a living wage, should see all the workers they could want able to work for the horticultural industry.

    • I am sure many people do not understand about the stand down period and also the fact that you lose many of the top ups you are allowed on a benefit as soon as you earn 1 dollar even if it is not permanent. This state of affairs has not changed under Labour or National. The Greens policy reconizes it but they ho too far the other way making it easier to be on a benefit and have children. than working.
      A problem with higher wages is the cost of fresh food goes up and people cut back . This is the same reason for poor wages in hospitality we want the best but are not prepared to pay the money. My suggestion is a sugar tax and the income is ring fenced to subsidise fresh food.

  3. The moaning and bitching about not getting their cheap slave working immigrant workers has been ongoing.
    Then we hear the threats saying, the price of food will go up and the fruit and the veggies will rot in the ground. Yet many NZers can’t even afford fruit as it is too dare. Nor can they afford red meat. Something urgently has to be done about this labour issue, namely our continual reliance on foreign labour and expertise. We have huge infrastructure problems in our country. Housing cost has spiralled out of control and our hospitals are buckling at the seams effecting many people especially Maori, PI and the poor who aren’t getting proper medical treatment. And then we have problems with sewerage, water shortages, rubbish wastes and recycling. But still they want to bring in more and more people saying it is good for our economy. It seems we are in a very difficult situation does anyone have the solution?

    • More consumers is what Business NZ want.

      Not good for the country, its environment, its infrastructure, health and education systems but good for the corporate dividend and banks.

  4. Is anyone really going to be lured to orchards to be paid minimum/low wages when getting there costs hundreds of dollars and staying there thousands?

    Time to encourage locals that live in the rural areas to be paid enough to work on the farms and think of it as a long term career.

    The industry itself to organise NZ labour that can go from farm to farm, with the accomodation and transport supplied free, before the minimum wages kick in.

  5. You would not be saying any of that if you were a ‘death cult capitalist’, Martyn. You’d be saying, “Open the border now, and let the impoverished masses in so we can exploit them, and fuck the future and fuck sustainability; I want money now.”

  6. A commenter on interest.co.nz calculated that when his father was doing casual picking etc 50 years ago the wage he was paid then was the equivalent of $36 an hour now. Lots of NZers would work for that sort of money right now.

    • excellent point, Graham Adams. Not just horticulture either, behind all the ‘labour shortages’ is poor wages and conditions and now it’s so bad the government needs to subsidise around 60% of everyones wages in NZ with various top ups from community services cards, to working for families to accomodation supplements. (The new houses popping up they are mostly McMansions and not designed for workers in NZ).

  7. Yes, is a funny one..?
    Why is ‘immigrant’ labour cheaper than labour found here?
    Sure, I understand that poorer immigrant people are prepared to work for less just to get the work. I mean, that’s so obvious it’s hardly worth a mention.
    But just how are non AO/NZ labourers able to come here and undercut our labour force again? Employment laws? Heard of?
    Are they invisible? Do they wear cunning disguises?
    Don’t you think that should cause ructions within our general work force? A bit of a stink kicked up?
    And why are horticulturists forced to try and get away with paying immigrant people less than local people anyway?
    Could it be to do with the supermarket chains sucking out the lives of those who grow the foods while making billions? There are only two supermarket chains in AO/NZ so perhaps they need to answer some questions. And anyone who needs to eat can tell you horror stories about our Kiwi-As price gouging, price rorting, school kid employing because they’re cheap-as, piss poor wages paying, insider trading scum bag Kiwi-As supermarkets.
    And ron brierly knows all about school kids aye mr fuck face progressive enterprises?
    People who grow our foods are merely an annoyance compared to brierly’s might, who I heard described once on rnz as a titan of industry. A Titan. That’s quite a big thing isn’t it? A titan? Titanic. THE Titanic The plush, riche wankers holiday canoe that came off second best to an ice cube? It was a laptop that did you in wasn’t it ron?
    Based on MB’s unwavering logic re foods and paying people to pick em, I’m off to give my neighbour a sound telling off for daring to receive his .30 cents for the third of a kg of his wool in my $200.00 fucking jersey! How dare he ! It’s awesome for those who’ve never seen a sheep much less having to passionately rip its bodice off to make socks and a cardi but they’re expected to shear the wool off and deliver it to you for less than they will make from it ! Of course they should the selfish bastards! Same goes for horticulturalists. How dare they! Try to survive while the rest of us waste more food daily than some of those immigrants eat in a week. Outrageous!
    Knighthoods for supermarket chain owners and the gallows for the filthy fama dahlings. Now pass that chop with chutney would you, there’s a good fellow?

  8. Love all the comments from keyboard warriors that have no undertsanding of actually what is envolved with hiring workers for orchards or any other non skilled seasonal business.

    The keyboarders keep complaining that workers need more money.
    Yep. Remember they CAN EARN MORE MONEY!!!
    Its called working.
    The guy who says he ONLY gets $19.50 an hour is not a worker. He is an attender(shows up, does less than is required but still gets the money). Could be the type of worker who randomly doesnt turn up for work or turns up late.
    He himself says others get the good rate. Yep, they are called workers.!!!
    They provide a betters service to the employer by picking/pruning at a better rate.
    Whatever happened to work ethic, seems it has gone down the toilet since welfare was increased

    But hey, dont let facts get in the way of a good moan.

    • Lets get all the politicians out there picking and see if they are considered ‘workers’ by “Roys the name truths the game” – my guess is that they would be piss poor because the standard seems to be driven by what the industry can get away with, rather than what is available in NZ.

      Not just NZ – this is a well worth reading article.

      You will never buy Italian tomatoes with the same ideas as before, upon realising you are most likely contributing to organised crime with your purchase.

      How the Italian mafia makes millions by exploiting migrants.

      • Indeed, everything gets driven down to the lowest common denominator in a globalised, fascistic, corporatised world. Just look at the outcry when the prospect of no Polish workers arriving to work in the fields arose. In Amerika is poor Mexicans that keep the agricultural produce flowing from the fields to the supermarkets, and keep the meat chains delivering meat to the supermarkets.

        I believe the allure of jobs in Amerika has become somewhat tarnished in recent times, what with the drought, the out-of-control fires and out-of-control Covid-19.

        It might be time to start importing African again. (No, I’m not being serious). 🙂

    • Yes there are some people who don’t have a work ethic but I asked for a solution, you just moaned and bitched. If we bring in more people who does this impact on the most. We can bring in people but we need to ensure we have houses, schools, roads, water, recycling and waste systems, doctors, teachers, nurses, clinicians and the list goes on. Of course we all wants good quality food but it needs to be affordable for all people not just the rich. To say immigration doesn’t impact on housing is utter bull crap it impacts on everything including our environments. We need to talk about immigration it has been largely ignored because of covid.

      • There is not one aspect of our collective predicament that is in any way improved by having more people.

        However, banks and corporations want more people in order to maintain Ponzi economics in the short term.

        Since the populations of numerous nations are way beyond the carrying capacity of the land (people only being kept alive by industrial agriculture, which is at the failure point), we have all the ingredients for widespread die-off. .

  9. They should stop piss testing everyone and denying cannabis users the right to work picking fruit after having a joint on the weekend


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