Michael Woodhouse says it is the largest number since the scheme began eight years ago and reflects an excellent season for apples, kiwifruit, cherries and grapes.
He has told a conference in Apia he continues to be amazed at the impact the scheme has on the families involved.
Woodhouse told the employers the RSE scheme ensures a more stable and reliable workforce for New Zealand growers.
The Minister says a pilot involving Fijian workers for the first time has gone well and he expects many more from the country to be involved in subsequent years.
Vanuatu supplies the most workers but significant numbers also come from Tonga and Samoa with some also from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands.... PACNEWS