18 Feb 2024
Today Member of Parliament for Southland Joseph Mooney submitted his petition seeking allocated MIQ capacity to bring more skilled dairy farm workers into the country as the pressure of staff shortages continues to mount on farms across New Zealand.
Mr Mooney launched his petition to allocate 500 MIQ spaces each fortnight to skilled migrant dairy workers into the country in June, well in advance of the beginning of calving season.
“Calving is now well underway on many farms across the country and staff shortages have put an immense strain on both farm managers and existing workers,” Mr Mooney says.
“Labour must act now for the good of the physical and mental wellbeing of those working in New Zealand’s dairy farming sector. The shortage of workers across the dairy industry can only be described as dire. Farmers are desperate to find more staff, but they are just not out there.
“Labour has had many months to address this disastrous situation but now calving time is now here for farms right across my electorate and throughout the country. Staff on those farms are having to work extremely long hours because there are not enough workers.
“This situation is going to result in huge burnout and there are concerns about mental health in the farming community. Farmers can’t scale back or cut corners when animals need to be cared for, they work harder and longer to make sure the job gets done.
“The Government must act now to allow more migrant workers into the country to help alleviate these pressures. The country’s shortage of dairy farm workers runs into the thousands. It is also only going to get bigger as we lose more staff to other countries.
“We now have a situation where workers are quitting the industry and taking up jobs in Australia and Canada because their families cannot get into New Zealand.
“We don’t just need to let more dairy farm workers into New Zealand, we need a sensible and practical approach to immigration that will allow sectors like the Dairy Industry to address their crippling worker shortages,” Mr Mooney says.
Mr Mooney’s petition, which he delivered to Parliament today, fetched over 1500 signatures.