“Labour has gone ‘hard and early’ to support local growers, which means it’s allowing them access to Pacific workers two months into the horticultural season,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Today’s move should be welcomed, but it’s too late for some businesses.

“Labour is willing to allow billionaire America’s Cup team owners, movies stars and their nannies, international sportspeople, and musicians performing at summer festivals into the country as essential workers.

“Bringing RSE workers into the country two months late is like allowing sailors to come halfway through the America’s Cup.

“ACT and growers have been raising this issue for months and Labour hasn’t listened.

“Why not allow Covid-free workers from the Pacific to come here now? There’s no good reason.

“This situation was entirely foreseeable. Horticulturalists need overseas workers to pick fruit every year. The Government knew that growers would need to recruit from overseas at this time of the year. What has it been doing for the last six months?

“Meanwhile, Australia is flying workers in from the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, quarantining them and getting them into the fields just as the fruit and vegetables are ripening.

“Jacinda Ardern has been prepared to let produce rot on the ground because the Government wants to have a fight with employers about pay and conditions.

“There would normally be up to 14,400 RSE workers in our fields, supporting our economy and protecting our reputation as a primary produce exporter.

“The Government is showing so little urgency for supporting productive people.

“People are losing their livelihoods because Labour doesn’t understand business.”