“The Government should take up Hawke's Bay horticulturists’ excellent idea of establishing a managed isolation facility close to their businesses and let more workers into New Zealand to stave off the likelihood of crops rotting on the ground,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“We’ve been highlighting for weeks that the export fruit producers helping prop up our economy are desperate for people with the right skills to manage their crops and pick their produce.

“What those businesses have received is a too-little too-late half measure from the Government with 2000 workers from the Pacific trickling in from January.

“That’s a fraction of what’s needed, with just one Hawke's Bay apple producer needing 300 workers but so far only managing to attract 55 locals.

“How many of them will last more than two weeks in the field?

“Meanwhile, ACT noted last week that Queensland grape growers are going one better again, driving  bubbles of Pacific Island pickers from the airport straight to their vines and bringing the Covid-19 testers to them, bypassing the need for managed isolation completely.

“This example of trust and flexibility in business will be many bridges too far for this Government, but it proves that with the right care and protocols in place these things can be done safely.

“The very least the Government can do is take the Hastings Angus Inn managed isolation facility proposal seriously and admit it’s not doing enough to protect an important sector of our economy.”