Primary sector exports and jobs up again
Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery.
Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6 per cent on a year ago, driven by an increase in the value of our fruit which is up 28.2 per cent with gold kiwifruit up 48 per cent, wine up per cent, and dairy products up per cent.
“Our farmers and growers are supporting our economic recovery by earning top dollar based on a reputation of sustainable food production. The smart thing to do is to keep supporting this success,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.
“Our focus on jobs over the past three years also showed through, with Stats NZ also reporting today that the number of filled jobs across our primary industries reached 99,920 in August, up by 8,720 or 9.6% from a year ago.
“We’re making sure people have the skills that businesses and sectors require through initiatives like free apprenticeships. We’re also backing our farmers and growers by positioning New Zealand globally, including doing the work to secure free trade deals with economies like the UK and EU.”
The Government is also working in partnership with the primary sector to support their environmental credentials which helps us stay ahead of the curve internationally, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.
“This week we made a range of immigration policy changes to ensure the sector has the workforce it needs as summer approaches and extra jobs come up on farms and in orchards.
“People in New Zealand with expiring working holiday visas can now stay to fill short-term horticulture and viticulture roles, with Supplementary Seasonal Employment visas being automatically given to around 11,000 people holding working holiday visas that expire between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.
“The Government has also made border entry exceptions for up to 30 veterinarians, 570 deep sea fishing crew, and 210 agricultural and horticultural mobile plant operators. These people will still have to undertake managed isolation.
“The Government will continue to actively manage these policy settings to make sure industries get the workers they need, while also ensuring New Zealanders who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 have the chance to find new employment,” O’Connor says.
Across the whole year to August, against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the US-China trade war, all exports have grown by 2.8 per cent, with milk power, butter and cheese exports up 11.1 per cent, meat exports up 9.9 per cent, wine exports up 8.5 per cent , fruit exports up 8.4 per cent and vegetables exports up 6.3 per cent.