A Challenging Industry Transition Ahead

Seafood New Zealand has welcomed the government’s inquiry into foreign workers in the sector but warns getting more Kiwis involved will be a challenge.

Oceans and fisheries minister David Parker announced that the government would conduct a ministerial inquiry into the use and allocation of migrant labour in the sector. It also pledged to investigate ways to get more Kiwis involved.

The government said the pandemic had highlighted the sector’s reliance on foreign labour with a peak of about 1850 workers, or 20 percent of the total workforce, registered in the year to March 2019.

Dr Jeremy Helson

“The industry is well aware of the desire of government to reduce migrant workers across many sectors and the seafood industry is already engaged with government on a plan to transition more New Zealanders into the industry,” said Seafood NZ chief executive Dr Jeremy Helson.

“That transition will be challenging and take time, but we look forward to the inquiry’s recommendations into how we can reduce our reliance on migrant labour and how automation and innovation might play a role in that.”