26 Oct 2006

Fiji's prime minister welcomes New Zealand's seasonal worker package

6:58 am on 26 October 2006

The Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has welcomed the news that New Zealand is offering a seasonal worker package to some countries in the region.

He says while the Australian government is not considering any such labour mobility scheme, it is going ahead with its offer to set up technical colleges in the region, with Suva as the headquarters.

Mr Qarase says the other colleges will be in Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The prime minister believes the seasonal worker scheme will benefit both countries.

"Under that scheme, Fiji would be one of the six countries where the scheme will start and we are most grateful for that. I'm not really disappointed with the current stand of the Australian government. It is a matter of policy, like any other country, policies are subject to review."

Mr Qarase says the leaders urged Australian prime minister, John Howard, to leave the door open for dialogue and further consultation on the issue which he is willing to do.