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RSE scheme boosting employment in the regions Thursday, 18 July 2019

The eleventh annual survey shows the positive effects of the RSE scheme on regional communities and businesses.

The latest survey of employers in the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme has found that almost half (45 per cent) have expanded their business as a result of employing workers from the Pacific

Business expansion has boosted employment in regional areas, with RSE employers hiring more New Zealanders from the local community, including through Work and Income NZ.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Pacifica Labour and Skills Manager, George Rarere says the 2019 survey highlights the positive impact of RSE workers on businesses and the local community.

“A stable seasonal workforce has meant more employers have been able to grow their business operations and put more investment into plant equipment and offer job opportunities to locals,” Mr Rarere says.

“We’re also seeing that with the changing labour requirements, employers have improved their training and induction practices for seasonal workers and are updating health and safety practices.”

Almost all of the RSE employers (96 per cent) agreed that the benefits of participating in the scheme outweighed the costs, and 82 per cent of employers stated that a key benefit was being able to employ more New Zealand workers – in addition to RSE workers.

RSE employers continue to rate RSE workers very highly in terms of dependability, productivity and enthusiasm. They also stated that the majority of their Pacific seasonal workers this year were employed by them last year. The returning workers typically helped with training new workers.

RSE Employers survey 2019

For further information contact the media line on 0274 422 141 or email

Notes for editors:

  • The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit overseas workers – mostly from the Pacific Islands – for seasonal work.
  • The annual survey monitors how well the scheme is meeting needs of New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture growers.
  • There is an administrative limit or cap on the number of RSE places that can be taken up in any one year. 
  • The number of available places varies each year depending on the forecast of New Zealanders available and industry demand.  In November 2018 the cap was set at 12,850.