10 Oct 2005

Pacific labour mobility would improve huge trade imbalances - academic

8:11 pm on 10 October 2005

An expert on development in the Pacific says if New Zealand and Australia could open their doors to the pool of unemployed in Pacific Island countries, it would go a long way to redressing the trade imbalance.

The draft Pacific Plan calls for broader trade arrangements, specifically the temporary movement of labour.

Professor Vijay Naidu, the head of Development Studies at Wellington's Victoria University, says there is a huge trade imbalance, and much of those exports are food stuffs and other goods, and all the value added activities have taken place in Australia and New Zealand.

"Therefore if the labour force were able to access some of the employment opportunities and remit some savings, take the money back home, then there would be a kind of balancing if you like. There is a kind of partnership already in terms of trade but it is an unequal partnership."