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Jerf van Beek leaves HortNZ

1 December 2020

National Labour Coordinator, Jerf van Beek has left HortNZ. 

Jerf has made a significant and telling contribution over the past 14 years.  His contribution that has seen a large number of horticulture and wine employers benefit from access to Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers.  This in turn has enabled significant industry growth, which is in large part due to the RSE scheme and Jerf’s role within that scheme. 

Jerf is acknowledged and thanked for his contribution, and his total commitment to the RSE scheme.  He was appointed the National Seasonal Coordinator for Seasonal Labour in August 2006.  At this time, the horticulture industry was facing a significant seasonal labour shortage, out of which the RSE scheme was developed by the then Labour Government. 

Jerf managed and nurtured that scheme, from its inception to the present day.  This was no easy process but the result is what the World Bank has described as one of the best labour mobility schemes in the world, of which Jerf was a key architect.

The impact of Covid and the changing nature of the horticulture industry has seen Jerf’s role change.  The operation of the network of Regional Labour Governance Groups and the National Group has changed.  Key product groups have taken over much of the role and the way in which Immigration New Zealand is managing the RSE scheme is also changing.

In other words, the way seasonal labour is managed and operated is changing and will continue to change.  This has affected Jerf’s role and has changed HortNZ’s role with seasonal labour.  What was once needed is no longer required.  It is for these reasons that Jerf and HortNZ have mutually agreed to bring Jerf’s contract to an end.

Once again, we would like to acknowledge Jerf’s contribution and wish him all the best for the future.