Recognised Seasonal Employer visas
In September, the government announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer visa cap to meet the increasing demand for horticultural sector employees. An additional 3,000 RSE visas can now be granted for the 2022–23 year, making a total of 19,000 available RSE visas.
An RSE visa applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Live in an eligible Pacific country at the date of their application, these include the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
- Work in recognised areas such as the fruit, vegetable or wine sectors, and
- Work a minimum of 30 hours/week, and
- Be paid a minimum of $22.10/hour.
A successful RSE visa holder cannot enter New Zealand until 14 days before the start date of their visa and must leave New Zealand before their visa expires. An RSE visa holder may, however, apply for a further RSE Limited visa where they are to continue working for a recognised employer and have not already stayed in New Zealand for the maximum time allowed, which is seven months in an 11-month period. It is worth noting that RSE Limited visas are only granted in exceptional circumstances.
It is important to understand your legal responsibilities when employing an RSE visa holder. If you are unsure about your obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Updates to intensive winter grazing requirements
In September 2020, the government introduced the Resource Management (National Environment Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 in an attempt to regulate certain activities which pose a potential risk to freshwater and the environment.
One activity covered by these Regulations is intensive winter grazing (the grazing of livestock on an annual forage crop at any time from 1 May to 30 September of the same year). On 1 November 2022, new regulations came into force in respect of intensive winter grazing (the Updated Regulations); these will impact farmers across New Zealand.
The first change is the requirement to have an intensive winter grazing management plan in place. The purpose of the plan is to identify the potential risks of intensive winter grazing, how you will mitigate those risks on your farm and to identify whether your current intensive winter grazing practices will still be considered a permitted activity (an activity that does not require a resource consent) under the Updated Regulations.
The Updated Regulations have changed which activities are considered a permitted activity.
More restrictions include, for example, the total area on which you can implement intensive winter grazing, the slope of land and stock distance from waterways. If you are unable to comply with the Updated Regulations, you must apply for a resource consent by 1 May 2023.
It is important to understand your legal responsibilities about intensive winter grazing. If you are unsure about your obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or your local council.
Proposed changes to the dairy and cattle code of welfare
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has recently reviewed and consulted on the minimum standards and best practice for the Code of Welfare for Dairy Cattle.
The Code was last reviewed in 2008, before the Animal Welfare Act 2015 came into force. This Act records that animals are capable of experiencing emotions; negative experiences for animals should be reduced and exposure to good experiences should be increased. As a result, a review of the Code is needed to bring the standards and regulations in line with the Act.
The proposed changes to the Code include:
- Changes to the body condition score requirements. This score provides an indication of a cow’s body fat reserve, which can be useful in respect of assessing the health of the cow
- Provision of shade and shelter (previously the requirements were that animals must be provided with means to minimise the effects of adverse weather)
- Restrictions on the use of hip clamps
- Banning the use of electrified backing and top gates
- Banning the use of electro-immobilisation devices
- Transport restrictions relating to travel time, time from the cows last being milked and water being provided at collection areas, and
- Requirements around lying areas for cattle especially within intensive winter grazing systems.
Submissions on the proposed changes closed in June of this year. The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee is now reviewing submissions.
If you have any queries in relation to the proposed changes, or what this means for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2022. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: [email protected]. Ph: 029 286 3650