The Pick Hawkes Bay Inc. (PHC) has come out officially to apologize to Solomon Islands workers working at their farms. Below is the official statement.

The PHB executive would like to express our apologies to the people of the Solomon Islands due to the recent employment incident that occurred in New Zealand.

We are taking the issue very seriously and we are undertaking our own full investigation, while at the same time supporting the MBIE/INZ investigation.

Our executive value, respect and hold RSE staff in the highest of regard. They should never be subjected to any form of abuse.

The staff member that reports directly to the executive has now been stood down pending our investigation.

COVID19 has put all parties under stress. Our staff have been under extreme pressure, working long hours to keep our RSE staff in employment, accommodation, as well as providing food allowances when they’re out of work.

We have also been working very hard to find ways to repatriate our RSE workers to their home countries, including the Solomon Islands.

The pastoral care of our RSE staff is a very important part of PHB, so we are very disappointed that this situation has arisen.

Although it isn’t an excuse Covid-19 has created an extremely difficult and an unprecedented situation for everyone in New Zealand, for Kiwis as well as those living and working here, away from their families.

We can understand the frustration that our RSE staff are experiencing, due to the fact that a number of them are at the moment unable to return to their home country.

We have immediately stepped up our efforts to check on the wellbeing of all our RSE staff to ensure that all their immediate needs are being met, including food and accommodation.

Once again, we would like to extend our sincere apologies to everyone affected and especially to the group of Solomon Islanders.

Our RSE staff are valuable and highly regarded members of our Pick HB family and their wellbeing is our utmost priority.

Source: John Evans on behalf of the PHB executive