Supplier Update 1 April 2022
By now you will have seen our annual result, announced yesterday in step with the Co-operative. While very pleasing I’m conscious that this result reflects the year ended 31 December 2021, and we’re already well into 2022.
The disruption we’re all facing at present is probably as acute as it’s ever been, however I want to reassure you that we are finding solutions. There are consumers who want what we’re producing and we’ll continue to work hard to connect them as closely as we can with you on farm. I also want to acknowledge your patience and understanding as we all work through extended processing wait times, as well as our transporters, site staff and livestock reps.
This week we welcomed back 15 staff members from Samoa. Our challenges accessing skilled labour are well known and going into this wave of Omicron we were around 550 workers short across our site network.
While employing New Zealanders is a big focus, ultimately we are constrained by the historic low unemployment rate. Covid-19 has exacerbated those shortages by impacting some of the communities in which our sites operate, and we’ve had staff have to stay at home and isolate.
We’ve been working directly with the Government to enable any seasonal workers that may be made available to our industry to support us, and we’re grateful that we’ve been given permission to bring some in. We appreciate the work of the Ministry for Primary Industries in advocating for the sector through this process.
While these additional workers aren’t going to be a silver bullet for our capacity issues or our processing wait-times, they are incredibly welcome and will help. We’ve run a successful arrangement employing workers from Samoa for around 12 years and these team members have a significant positive impact in our sites.
Another 18 Samoan workers will arrive in the next few weeks. We’ve also had five workers recently arrive from the Cook Islands and are working hard to see if we can get any more approved. These are experienced, skilled workers who are going back to sites they’ve previously worked at, including Finegand, Pareora, Pacific and Hawera.