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New Zealand Farmers Value Overseas Workers

Federated Farmers welcomes news that Mid Canterbury dairy farmers have been completely cleared by the Employment Relations Service of accusations of mistreating and underpaying three Ukrainian employees, said Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Spokesperson Chris Procter.

“It is now clear that the farmers concerned were acting in good faith and providing their employees with good working conditions and rates of pay.

“It is unfortunate that some people used this isolated incident, which involved false accusations, to criticise the dairy industry and the benefits to both employer and employees of employing Ukrainian employees, said Mr Procter.

“Claims by one opportunistic MP, that the Ukrainian farm employees were ‘exploited' and that their treatment was ‘disgraceful' have now proven to be unfounded.

“The dairy farming boom in Canterbury coupled with the low level of unemployment has meant that dairy farmers need to seek employees from overseas to fill positions. This has been a win-win situation for both parties.

“Many New Zealanders gain significant benefit from working overseas and New Zealand benefits from the experience they gain on their return. Earlier this year the Government put significant effort into retaining the right of young New Zealanders to work in the UK and Europe on the basis that it benefited all countries concerned. In Federated Farmers view the opportunities provided to Ukrainians to work in New Zealand should be considered in a similar light.

“A significant number of Ukrainian's have been employed on Canterbury dairy farms. The majority of these employees have enjoyed the work and valued the experience. It has also been a positive experience for the farm employers who appreciate the enthusiasm of the Ukrainians.

“The dairying industry is investing significant funds into promoting dairying as a career with the objective of encouraging more New Zealanders to enter the industry. Great opportunities exist to build a successful and profitable career. Dairy farming is one of the few industries in which a person can enter the industry with nothing and own a multimillion dollar business by the time they are 40” concluded Mr Procter.

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