Seasonal workers saving for goods

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:14 16/05/2014
Fergus Murray
CHLOE WINTER
HARDWARE: Chainsaws, weed-eaters, and hedge trimmers are just a few items seasonal workers from left Saksak Roromal, Edwin Dajo and Jeffery Edwin buy at Mitre 10 Mega Marlborough to pack ntsGupntein a container and ship it back to their families in Vanuatu.

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More than 600 workers have arrived in Marlborough under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme for vine pruning season.

The figures provided by Immigration New Zealand showed there were 689 RSE workers in the region as of 13 May - 100 more than the same time last year.

A total of 1500 RSE workers were approved to work in the Marlborough region so far in 2014.

The scheme allows accredited employers to recruit from overseas, mostly the Pacific, for seasonal work when there were not enough New Zealand workers.

Hortus owner Aaron Jay said he has employed 170 RSE workers for the pruning season.

"They are here to make money to better themselves to help their families and pay school fees for their kids," he said.

"We give them a weekly allowance and they have a compulsory savings account so they go home with lots of money."

His workers often bought housing products at Mitre 10 Mega or Bunnings or bulk food items such as 20kg bags of rice to send back to their village, he said.

"They predominantly spend their money on technology, like cellphones, TVs and appliances but also solar panels, chainsaws and tools.

"They also buy doors and windows because they are hard to make over there - they don't have the resources."

Duncannon Backpackers and Worker Accommodation operations manager Alistair Mitchell said their accommodation was almost full.

"This season we only have three beds left of 198 beds."

He said the workers did not have lot of free time, but would go into town if they had a rainy day off, he said.

"When it rains and they can't work, they go into town and buy anything from second-hand sewing machines to solar panels and chainsaws to bedding and clothing for their kids."

Some workers come to Marlborough with a list of items they need to take home, he said.

"They have specific needs for their village and families.

"The guys that have been here a few times have a good understanding of what they want."

Mitre 10 Mega Marlborough store manager David Hawtin said they get quite a few RSE workers in their store.

"We get a lot.

"They buy paint and pruning products, secateurs, just things they send home in container loads.

"They come in in groups and buy stuff to pack up to send back to their village."

chloe.winter@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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