Survey into growing wine industry

A labour survey will help the Marlborough wine industry determine how many workers, including RSE workers, it will need ...
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

A labour survey will help the Marlborough wine industry determine how many workers, including RSE workers, it will need to service future growth.

A survey into the growth of the Marlborough wine industry and its impact on the labour market will be a "guiding document" going forward, an industry expert says.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said more than 60 grapegrowers, wine companies and labour contractors would be interviewed as part of the research.

The survey, which started on Monday, was the most comprehensive study into the future impact of the industry to date, Pickens said.

It would focus on three main areas: the number of hectares likely to be added over the next five years, the number of workers employed by the industry and the state of worker accommodation.

The survey, conducted by Druce Consulting, would also address wine industry predictions on the number of workers required to service future growth, as well as where the workers were likely to live.

Identifying these future challenges made the survey incredibly useful, Pickens said.

Anecdotally most people knew the wine industry was growing and would require more workers, but having this independently verified was important, he said.

It would fill in the "pieces of the puzzle" and allow advocacy groups to provide evidence to the government that might influence the number of workers it allowed under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, he said.

New Zealand was allowed to take 9000 RSE workers a year, with 197 currently in Marlborough compared to 223 at the same time last year. 

The survey was funded by Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, labour contracting company Seasonal Solutions and the Marlborough District Council.

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Council economic development manager Neil Henry said the survey would give the council an indication of where future infrastructure and accommodation might be needed.

Knowing where the wine industry would experience growth, how many more workers were needed and where they were likely to live would be of interest to council and to private groups, such as landlords and community law who dealt with migrant workers, he said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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