MSD Seasonal Work Support

16 November 2021

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has a range of supports for New Zealanders wanting to undertake seasonal work.   These are highlighted on the Work and Income website and seasonal work is promoted on the MSD Facebook page.

Below is a summary of some of the key initiatives available:


New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme (NZSWS)

The NZSWS is available to people deemed at risk of long-term benefit receipt.

The scheme supports people who want to take up full time seasonal horticulture or viticulture work of six weeks or more.

The scheme provides various types of support:

For people relocating to take up seasonal work

  • incentive payments
  • accommodation assistance
  • travel to and from seasonal regions

For all participants

  • daily transport costs
  • gear and clothing
  • training
  • pastoral care

MSD encourages people to speak to their local Work and Income service centre about the NZSWS before they temporarily relocate to a seasonal work region.


Seasonal Work Assistance Payment (SWAP)

SWAP provides financial assistance for seasonal workers who are no longer getting a benefit and have lost wages because of work missed due to bad weather. Someone may receive Seasonal Work Assistance if:

  • they stopped getting a benefit within the last 26 weeks to go into seasonal horticultural and viticulture work
  • have lost wages because they could not work due to bad weather; and
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.


$5K to Work

$5k to Work is an incentive payment for eligible people who need to relocate to secure employment that’s longer than 91 days.  People should apply for this assistance before travelling to a seasonal work region.  The scheme is to help with the costs of moving to take up the job offer.


Regional Initiatives

MSD regions also provide a range of initiatives to promote seasonal work opportunities. 


For more information, please contact your local Work and Income office.