Well it’s October 1, day of tax cuts and the day ticket sales open for the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival (should you prioritise wine over cheese ). They need a fair bit of notice to secure a site so Fiasco wont be there in 2009, unless there is a cancellation…what a shame we will have to spend the day ’researching’ other sites instead of working.
Speaking of celebrating the wine industry, I read a great article in The Sun (local paper) today by Dan Hutchinson. It tells the story of a group of Vanuatu men who will return home from Marlborough this month having made enough money working in the vineyards here to supply their homes on the island of Efate with electricity. The guys have used their pruning funds to buy a solar panel and an inverter each, giving them light, tele and power for a freezer. Furthermore, one of the workers is quoted as saying “The bosses and the farmers have been kind, our supervisors as well…they have done everything for us and I would like to say thanks to the pastoral care people for doing their job.” (Thumbs up to Seasonal Solutions).
These guys came to Marlborough from Vanuatu as part of the Regional Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) and while there have been some glitches with it, I think the scheme on the whole is brilliant. We spent many weekends and evenings doing some of our own pruning this winter and it’s no easy task out in the cold doing repetitive hard labour. The workforce that have arrived through this scheme have been invaluable to the industry as a whole and there are obvious benefits for the workers too, who have come from places where there is real poverty, low wages and high unemployment. What appeals to me also is the seasonal pass – these people return to their communities. I have heard anecdotal evidence that many young people who come to New Zealand from the Pacific Islands for more permanent work opportunities can suffer the consequences of being so removed from the communities they were once a part of and supported by.