Birdhurst offered busking substitute

Fruit grower company Birdhurst says its seasonal workers will be able to sing but not accept money.

Birdhurst managing director Heath Wilkins said his company was notified by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that allowing its Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) staff to busk for money at the Sunday Market was outside the law regarding its RSE agreement.

The workers from Vanuatu, who are employed for the pipfruit season, had been entertaining at the Motueka market.

Mr Wilkins said that three weeks ago the company met its RSE leaders and told them that the busking for money needed to stop.

"We then said to them that we wanted them to continue to sing at the market and as they could not take money we said that my company would pay them the money lost at the end of the season for a community project back in their homes.

"At no time were they ever told to stop singing, all they were told to do was not accept money and we would cover that lost revenue."

He said it was a surprise to him that they had stopped singing at the market and that had been their own decision.