‘My plea to Kiwis’ – PM Jacinda Ardern’s message to NZers enticed by Aussie Government cash

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scoffing at plans by the Aussie Government to woo Kiwi workers to Australia with the promise of a $2000 cash-in-hand deal.

“It doesn’t add up,” she told reporters this afternoon when asked about the scheme.

“The thing to factor in is that $2000 to go and take up a job in another country [but] you’ve still got the quarantine costs of coming home,” she said.

Her comments were in response to an email to New Zealanders, sent via a not-for-profit hostel, backpackers and travel organisation, which revealed the Government was trying to entice New Zealanders by encouraging them to do their “big OE in OZ”.

The offer, which has been advertised on the Australian Government job seeker website, promises Kiwis $2000 if the applicant completes six weeks’ work of harvesting (20 hours a week minimum) in Australia’s regional areas.

“From 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2021, relocation assistance will be available for people to move and take up jobs in agriculture, including harvest work,” the ad said.

“You may be eligible for financial assistance to help with the costs of travel and accommodation when you relocate to take up a short-term agricultural work opportunity.”

But Ardern said there were still plenty of jobs in the horticultural sector available in New Zealand.

“My plea to Kiwis is: There are great jobs out there – there are great opportunities and we will keep working on ways to support you into those roles.”

“We are working very hard with our horticulture industry, particularly to find the New Zealanders to go into those jobs.”

She said the Government has been working to make sure the conditions are good and that people were being attracting to the work.

“What we need to make work are the opportunities here in New Zealand and there are plenty; there is no need to leave.”

The Australian Government’s offer comes as a Northland farmer is seeing his crops go to waste because his expert and specialised workforce can’t get into the country.

“This could be my last crop,” says Northland courgette grower Brett Heap, who grows courgettes near Waipapa in Northland. “I’m at the point where I’m not going through it again.

“I can accept losing a crop with weather, or disease, or water damage. I have real difficulty accepting I’m on the point of getting out of the industry because the Government doesn’t care.”

Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman said last week it was incredible to be facing a harvest season with unresolved issues that were known about six months ago.

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