Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament.
“Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work environments for their people,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.
The awards, which are sponsored by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), featured finalists from a diverse range of enterprises including Māori agribusiness, forestry, and veterinary services.
Damien O’Connor said about 350,000 people were working in the food and fibres sectors and this was expected to grow over the coming years.
“Our Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap sets goals of employing 10 per cent more Kiwis from all walks of life in the food and fibres sector by 2030, and 10,000 more New Zealanders in the workforce over the next four years. Having the right environment to nurture and develop people in our primary sectors is critical to New Zealand’s future.
“The past 12 or so months have been tough. I have been particularly impressed with how many of finalists have said they used Covid-19 to look at how they were working and make changes that benefited them and their employees.”
“Our farming, forestry, and horticulture sectors supported New Zealand through Covid-19 and are now leading the way in our economic recovery.”
Damien O’Connor said initiatives like the Opportunity Grows Here campaign show there are no shortages of work in these important sectors.
“There are plenty of opportunities to build life-long and very rewarding careers in the engine room of our economy.
“It’s clear that everyone who has entered the Good Employer Awards is leading the way in best practice. When we do this collectively, we show our urban cousins that rural communities are vibrant and inclusive places to work, live, and grow in.
“Finally, I want to thank everyone who entered the Good Employer Awards, for their commitment to safe work practices and their people. They should all be proud of their achievements,” Damien O’Connor said.
Supreme Winners – Rayonier Matariki Forests
Māori Agribusiness Award – Rewi Haulage Ltd, East Coast Log Haulage Ltd
Employee Development Award – Vetora Waikato
Safe and Healthy Award – Port Blakely