14 Mar 2006

NZ says more work needed on labour mobility scheme

11:01 am on 14 March 2006

The New Zealand Foreign Minister says a lot of work needs to be done if any Pacific labour mobility scheme is to be put in place.

Winston Peters has met with members of the Tongan government who have raised the issue of Tongans working short-term in New Zealand.

Mr Peters says deveoloping a workable model is not easy and he cites the failure of a scheme in the 1970s.

However the Foreign Minister says his Tongan counterpart, Tu'a Taumoepeau-Tupou, suggested a new slant to any future scheme.

"When we develop a new plan, we need to understand that the best placed to control it are those a village level where the peer pressure for compliance is far likely to work at that level than at governmental level. We want people to come over where they can add value to our economy and to their own lives and yet make it possible for others to come over at a future date because they've gone back home as well."

NZ's foreign minister Winston Peters in Tonga