Government accidentally repeats border botch-up stopping essential workers' families entering New Zealand

The Government's announced it will let in 250 farm workers - but the sector says that's not even a drop in the labour shortage bucket.

The move has created yet another immigration anomaly - new workers coming in can bring their families, but those already here can't.

And until Newshub pointed it out to the Immigration Minister, he hadn't realised his mistake.

Contract milker Mark Arguila is finding it tough being short four workers. He told Newshub he and his staff have to work longer hours to make up for it.

He's tried to recruit Kiwis but found they struggle with having an immigrant as a manager, and end up quitting.

"You don't get the respect from them."

He's not convinced 200 farm managers coming into the country is enough. But Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says they've listened to farmers.

"Dairy NZ asked for 500, we've found space for 200. I think we're making progress here."

But DairyNZ says they're actually 2000 workers short.

Chief executive Tim Mackle says it's not enough.

"There's still a big gap between what we need right now and what will be available in these spaces."

It's not just that there aren't enough gumboots on the ground. Farmers say they're losing workers because they can't get their families through the border.

"We've got a guy on our farm who's been with us a year but he's been attracted to Canada," Grant Coombes told Newshub. 

There he can be reunited with his wife and children.

National's agricultural spokesperson David Bennett told Newshub it's "unjust".

"They should be able to bring their families in so they can have a life here. It's just completely unjust for those families."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government is trying.

"As we've had the capacity we have expanded those who are able to come into New Zealand to be reunited with their families."

In March, the Government was forced to fix a border anomaly to let critical healthcare workers bring in their families.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi was unaware he'd done it again - this time with farmers,

"I'm not sure that's the case. It is the case. Well I'll go back and check that is the case and if there is an issue there we will look at it," he told Newshub. 

The Minister went back and checked and sure enough, every time the Government creates a new exemption to let in more workers and their families, those already here lose out.

The Minister's now working on a more permanent fix to stop the constant border botch-ups.