Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? In June, rural contractors will be getting free lunches, free dinners and even free beer.

After a couple of tough years which have seen rural contractors working through floods, droughts and labour shortages, they are getting to go to their annual conference – for free.

Rural Contractors NZ CEO Andrew Olsen says his Board made the decision last week to axe fees for the June conference in Invercargill – a saving of several hundred dollars each for a couple of hundred attendees. “Our Board looked at what has been a difficult couple of years where being a rural contractor has not got any easier and certainly hasn’t got any cheaper.

“They reviewed our budget, confirmed we’re in strong, sustainable position and decided to recognise the difficulties our members have been through in a meaningful way with free conference attendance for those who want to attend.”

Andrew Olsen says any RCNZ member can take three representatives from their company (4 in total) to the conference.  “We are budgeting for 160 – 180 contractors  with additional sponsor and industry delegates getting us up to 200+.”

He says the cost to his organisation is expected to be up to $40,000. “We just think it’s the right thing to do and we can afford to do it for our members. We also recognise that Invercargill’s a long way to travel for many and travel and accommodation costs (which they still have to meet) have risen considerably.”

Registrations for the three-day conference will open February 22.

The RCNZ Board also decided to reinstate a rebate scheme for those members who are clients of Rothbury Insurance Brokers. From 1 April, annual subscriptions for those insured with Rothbury will be complimentary.