Print this page
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 12:39

Pork sector facing staff shortages

Written by  Staff Reporters
NZ Pork chief executive David Baines. NZ Pork chief executive David Baines.

With a lack of overseas workers, New Zealand’s pork sector is calling on the government for urgent action.

The sector wants the Government to urgently review its current policies on skilled migrant workers as it faces severe staff shortages, according to industry group NZ Pork.

Each year, New Zealand’s pig farming industry relies on experienced workers from overseas to meet a shortfall in staff with the necessary skills required to work with the country’s pig herd.

However, NZ Pork says the industry is concerned skilled migrants already working on pig farms in New Zealand may not have their visas renewed or existing workers trying to return from overseas visits will be blocked, leaving farmers with significant staffing shortages. 

A NZ Pork survey of pig farmers found that many fear their existing skilled migrant staff may be required to leave New Zealand as a result of immigration measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sector’s strong preference would be to have a pool of available skilled and unskilled New Zealand workers,” says NZ Pork chief executive David Baines.

“However, pig farming is a relatively niche sector in New Zealand and the reality is that there is a significant shortage of New Zealanders applying for roles.

“The industry relies on a supply of skilled migrant workers who have been trained in their home countries. The numbers in total are small, particularly compared to major industries such as dairy, but the productivity of the industry is very vulnerable because of the precision nature of pig farming.”

Further concerns raised include the cost of visas, processing times, a lack of pathway to residency and a lack of consistency from Immigration New Zealand in terms of visa length and conditions.

NZ Pork has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway to discuss the shortage of labour.


More like this

Vintage update

Wine companies, large and small, are grappling with the potential shortage of a reliable labour force for vintage 2021, with borders closed to international workers.

Seasonal worker facility opened

A new state of the art accommodation facility for RSE or temporary overseas workers at a large Māori kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty has been opened by the Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta.

Migrant workers set to return

About 50 migrant dairy workers could potentially benefit from the Government’s border exception for work visa holders.

Building up the primary sector workforce

Tertiary Education Commission chief executive, Tim Fowler, once worked on a dairy farm as a teenager ‘townie’ and appreciates how accommodating his boss was at that time.


Meat quota rates remain vital

A jump in the value and volume of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports to Europe and the UK shows why preserving WTO tariff-rate quotas is so important, claims the Meat Industry Association (MIA).


Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak, according to the BNZ.


It’s all kosher – Taggart

Farmer-owned cooperative Alliance Group says it has already returned $17 million of the $34.3 million it claimed from the Covid-19…

Machinery & Products

JCB releases new loader range

Originally scheduled for a June Fieldays release, which was stymied by the Covid crisis, JCB has recently unveiled its third…