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70 percent of staff have been cut from a NZ company during lockdown

Emma Olsen
Zealandia truck transporting crops
Zealandia truck transporting crops  Flickr

Nearly 70 percent of staff members at one of New Zealand's largest plant growers have had to stop working.

Along with many other kiwi businesses, Zealandia Horticulture is being affected by the nationwide lockdown. 

Only 80 workers remain at the business after 150 of the 230 staff members across the country temporarily had to stop working. 

Zealandia Horticulture hopes the 150 staff will be able to return to work after the lockdown period, however, Zealandia's National GM Pedro Wylaars said it is hard to pre-empt what will happen. All staff who are currently not working are on the wage subsidy scheme. 

The business is classified as an essential service due to the plants they grow for food production, which means they are still able to sell to their commercial customers, but no retail sales. 

Out of the 1400 plant varieties that Zealandia grows, only the commercial tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber seedlings, brassicas, and lettuce are crops that the business can continue supplying. 

They are focusing strongly on managing the health and wellbeing of their team, as well as trying to navigate financial implications said Pedro. 

Once the lockdown is over, Zealandia plans on bouncing back by using their 100 years' worth of experience and being on top of their clients' demands.

"We know that gardening is a healthy, positive activity, we will make sure we are in a strong position to supply retailers to serve and supply our customers," Pedro said.