ZB

Up to 25 foreign workers crowded into single-bathroom house

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Jan 2022, 7:15pm
Gurpreet Singh and his company JJ 2016 Ltd are facing a trial under the Immigration Act in the Hastings District Court. Photo / Ric Stevens
Gurpreet Singh and his company JJ 2016 Ltd are facing a trial under the Immigration Act in the Hastings District Court. Photo / Ric Stevens

Up to 25 foreign workers crowded into single-bathroom house

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Jan 2022, 7:15pm

An Indonesian farmer brought to New Zealand to work in the Hawke's Bay horticultural industry found himself paying $110 a week to share a room with five others, a court has been told. 

Anak Agung Adnyana told the Hastings District Court on Monday that up to 25 foreign workers were at times living in a Pakipaki house which had only one bathroom. 

Adnyana told the court he was paid only in cash, and received up to $800 per week during a four-week stint in 2019. 

Adnyana was giving evidence in the judge-alone trial of Gurpreet Singh and his company JJ 2016 Ltd, who were both facing charges under the Immigration Act. 

Singh faces four charges of aiding a person to remain unlawfully in New Zealand, or to breach any condition of a visa granted under the Immigration Act. 

His company JJ 2016 Ltd faces four charges of allowing a person to work who was not entitled to do so. 

Singh and his company had faced six charges each, but the court heard that two charges were withdrawn against each after two witnesses failed to maintain contact with the prosecution team. 

Another witness has since lost contact and a warrant was issued by Judge Russell Collins for that person's arrest. 

Crown prosecutor Ian Murray brought the case on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

He said the Pakipaki home base of JJ 2016 Ltd included a house which was "effectively a boarding house" and that Indonesian and South American workers were paying to live there. 

Adnyana told the court there were six people sharing his room in three sets of bunk beds. He did not know how many bedrooms were in the house but there was only one bathroom. 

Asked if the house was empty or crowded, he said through an interpreter that at one time, there were 25 people, so it felt quite crowded. 

Adnyana said he had arrived on a visitor's visa in 2019, never signed an employment contract with JJ 2016 Ltd, never received a payslip and was paid in cash. 

On the first week he worked in Hawke's Bay, he earned $800. 

He was paid between $300 and $800 cash according to the work completed between 8am to 5pm, five days a week. 

Questioned by defence counsel Scott Jefferson, Adnyana said he had paid 72 million Indonesian rupiah, or about $7200, to an agent in Bali to get to New Zealand and had to borrow money to do so. 

He did so on the understanding he could earn between $3000 and $4000 per month after he arrived here. 

The trial, which is due to hear from nine witnesses, is set down to last all week. 

- by Ric Stevens, Open Justice