Kiwifruit company admits jobs are 'sh*t work'

Kiwifruit company admits jobs are 'sh*t work'
Photo credit: Getty/ file

A kiwifruit company has admitted its employees do "shit work", just a fortnight after beneficiaries were blamed for a shortage of workers.

Apata communications manager David Freeman this week told Checkpoint with John Campbell that it's "pretty tough work", "monotonous" and "you're doing the same thing over and over".

The fruit packing company's managing director Stuart Weston had previously told RNZ's Morning Report that beneficiaries were partly to blame for a staff shortage because they weren't taking up work and would instead "choose to go hungry".

The beneficiary debate made it into Parliament, with National's horticulture spokesperson Lawrence Yule questioning employment Minister Willie Jackson about whether people should be punished for not taking up jobs like fruit picking.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) declared a seasonal labour shortage across the Bay of Plenty region, with a shortfall of 1200 workers who are needed to pack an extra 20 million trays of kiwifruit.

MSD said between January and April this year, it had placed 1000 jobseekers into work in the kiwifruit industry.

FIRST Union has launched a Kiwifruit Workers Alliance in the wake of the shortage declaration, because the union is concerned that it will increase worker exploitation in the sector.