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Publication Date Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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At least half of the kiwifruit contractors who have been audited or investigated in Bay of Plenty have failed to provide employment contracts or pay the minimum wage, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report found.

Union Network of Migrants national organiser Dennis Maga said the union was told last year that international students were being picked up out of Auckland to earn as little as $2 an hour to pick kiwifruit. “There was an arrangement they would be paid between $2 to $8 an hour in exchange for contacting those fruit picking companies.” He said the majority of migrant workers he knew of working in kiwifruit picking in the Bay of Plenty were Indians and Filipinos.

Mr Maga said the reason those migrants accepted such poor working conditions was because they were often desperate. “Some of these international students have been looking for jobs for a long time in order to pay for their food and accommodation. “These companies, especially the labour hire companies, are trying to exploit this situation.”

Source URL: Radio New Zealand

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