Wednesday, 14 April 2021 13:55

Editorial: Farmers are waiting

Written by  Staff Reporters
Farmers are crying out for the Government to open up MIQ spaces for more farm staff. Farmers are crying out for the Government to open up MIQ spaces for more farm staff.

OPINION: From next week, two-way quarantine-free travel kicks in between New Zealand and Australia.

The trans-Tasman bubble is estimated to free up 1,000 to 1,300 rooms per fortnight within MIQ facilities in NZ. The Government plans to keep roughly 500 spaces free in case they are needed following an outbreak. Some facilities will be closed as they are only suitable for those coming from low-risk countries.

For months, the primary sector, including our dairy farmers, has been pleading for more MIQ rooms to bring in migrant workers sorely needed on farms.

The Government has passed some limited border exceptions for agricultural machinery operators, veterinarians, sheep shearers, animal pregnancy scanners and some skilled dairy staff to date.

However, these limited exceptions aren’t going to go very far with the number of workers needed across the primary industries now and in the coming months.

MIQ space has been continually cited as a barrier for getting the workers we need. But with the trans-Tasman bubble freeing up so many rooms, the Government has a great opportunity to put its money where its mouth is.

Since the first lockdown over a year ago, the Government has applauded farmers and the agriculture sector in general for helping keep our economic wheels turning.

With more beds becoming available, the Government should now allow those with agricultural skills to enter the country.

Federated Farmers rightly points out that with continued low unemployment and the majority of available workers remaining in the urban centres, all of the primary industries are crying out for labour.

Farm Source, a leading job website for the dairy industry, currently lists over 1,100 vacancies on farm, far higher than the usual number for this time of year.

All of the primary industries have been working hard to attract and upskill Kiwis to work on farms, but unfortunately these initiatives don’t address the immediate labour problem.

Farmers need people in our fields, orchards and cow sheds. Federated Farmers has asked the Government to allow 500 skilled dairy staff into New Zealand for the new milking season.

The farmer lobby carried out a survey in March and results showed that 49% of dairy farmer respondents were currently short-staffed; 46% had vacancies unfilled for more than three months; and nearly a quarter had been unable to fill a gap on their team for more than six months.

The Government should not miss this opportunity to help farmers in desperate need of overseas labour. The lack of MIQ rooms is no longer an issue. Farmers are waiting.


Industry backs recycling scheme

An on-farm plastic recycling initiative, Plasback, seems to be gaining momentum as the agricultural industry moves to reduce its environmental…

Buyer for VLG assets

The New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) says it has entered conditional agreements to buy assets from the Van Leeuwen…

Do more on climate change - Shaw

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says New Zealand dairy is the world's lowest greenhouse gas emitter but that's not good…

Machinery & Products

Methane-powered tractor coming

The first production unit of the T6 Methane Power tractor, a cornerstone of New Holland's energy independent farm concept, was…

Half a century and not out!

Suffolk, UK-based Richard Western Trailers has over 50 years' experience building high-end trailers, manure spreaders, chaser bins, drill fillers and…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Less-gassy bulls

There may soon be another tool available to cut your climate footprint - select less-gassy bulls out of a catalogue.

Rock and a hard place

OPINION: Appease the Chinese and protect your export trade, like dairy products, or infuriate them and face sanctions.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter