New Zealand Winegrowers says it welcomes the government’s confirmation that quarantine free travel (QFT) for RSE workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will start in October.

The announcement will provide certainty for many winegrowers who rely on RSE workers to lay the foundation for a successful growing season.

“Confirmation of QFT travel for RSE workers is a significant boost for our sector,” says CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, Philip Gregan.

“Labour supply has been very tight over the winter pruning season.

“The start of QFT will provide security of labour as we start the growing season.”

NZ Winegrowers says the labour shortage issue has been a very important priority and they will continue to work with the government on the details, especially to ensure safe travel for RSE workers at current alert levels.

“We have been working with the Government for some time, alongside our counterparts in the horticulture industry, to ensure we can meet our industry’s need for skilled workers,” says Gregan.

“Securing ongoing access to off-shore labour is critical to ensure that we can get the work done, and continue to make premium wine.”

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